I called my grandparents, hoping to hear their whereabouts. With the stress of a new school year and a new house distracting me from my family and home life, I was overwhelmed with guilt as I watched the coverage of Hurricane Irma on CNN. As residents of Boynton Beach, Florida, my grandparents were poised to be in the center of the path of the second deadliest hurricane to pass over the United States this year.
It’s ironic when you think about it: White, cisgender men have ridiculed marginalized groups for needing safe spaces and called us snowflakes, yet they are now demanding a safe space of their own. Of course they are. They simply cannot stand us having something they don’t.
With the election of Donald Trump, students have been getting more involved in activism. From the Women’s March the day after the election, to A Day Without Immigrants, to the March for Science in the spring, to the marches and phone banking following the president’s decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, students have been partaking in activism at campuses across the United States.
Last year, I had what could be called a mid-college-life crisis. I switched my major four times, sliced my schedule down to eight credits and decided self-teaching was more valuable than going to class. I even considered dropping out of college.
When I walked out of my first class at the University of Michigan, the sky was dark and the streets I had familiarized myself with during the daytime were foreign. Out of stubbornness, I avoided looking at the maps on my phone and began to walk with a new classmate. I tried my hardest to look like I knew where I was going and keep it cool. As I anxiously searched for a landmark that would send me in the direction home, I realized this transition was going to be more difficult than I imagined.
I knew long before this weekend how I felt about kneeling during the national anthem. Whether I like it or not, it’s a right and a privilege of living in this nation to protest peacefully. I was lucky enough to be born in the United States, and I can say without a doubt that there is no other place I would rather call home.