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Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Editorial: Passive and uninvolved, a quiet generation

Be it beatings at Cal, pepper spraying at UC Davis, or a fatal shooting in a BART station, acts of violence that would have once brought hundreds of high school students to their feet in anger now pass by with no more reaction than a status update on Facebook.

Even with instant video evidence, we elect to remain indifferent. With so many reasons to call for change, and so many chances to do so, now is not the time for passive silence.

For as long as any of us have been alive, there has never been a better time to be pissed off about the state of the world. People around the planet are standing up to shout in disapproval at the powers that be, yet Redwood’s voice in student activism remains completely uninspired.

We will never be effective advocates for change without knowing just how close to home some world news really is. Too many of us ignore distant news about students protesting tuition hikes, not realizing that there are riot police clashing with crowds over the issue only 30 minutes away in Berkeley.

Redwood families are experiencing job loss and home foreclosure. Our future college tuition is being raised faster than ever before, but our social status as “just” students does not excuse our silence. Everyone has the right and reason to express anger and push for solutions, including us.

It’s ironic: If just over 20 percent of the student body chose to miss a day for a World Series parade last year, surely a few hundred of us could spend a day voicing apprehension towards the possibility of involvement in a third overseas war, or expressing anger towards local incidences of police brutality.

Only one example of successful student activism has been visible at Redwood in recent memory. For one day last spring, students bent on equality showed that the spirit of action, although dormant 364 days a year, does still burn in some of us.

On the Day of Silence, a multitude of purple-clad advocates for tolerance, became louder than any student protesters in recent memory without saying a word.

Granted, students have just begun to scratch the surface of disapproval. While online activism has evolved as a quick way to grasp short attention from a few hundred people at once, we cannot stop there. As the Day of Silence has shown, our potential impact exceeds such passive actions as re-posting headlines and forwarding along emails. When we are satisfied with quick and minimalist jabs at an issue, we are only cheating ourselves out of a role in shaping our future.

The actions of former students highlight the prevalence our current passivity. Our school’s alumni, university students just a few years older than us, are currently occupying Cal, Davis, UCLA, and an array of other campuses, and most American cities are getting their dose of occupation. Today’s protests are far from perfect, but we should absolutely learn from their initiative.

Upon graduation, four of the most perfectly primed years for activism will have passed us by. At Redwood, we are surrounded by family,friends, and educators who live to support our actions and our beliefs. Simply asked, what are we waiting for? Letting the world be shaped around us without a passionate voice is passin up a gift.

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