KATIE (3rd year)
"Activism. There are many ways to express resistance, disrupt the system in small, every-day actions. We need systemic change in terms of policies, but societal change also comes from voicing and raising awareness in our immediate surroundings.
I speak from the position of a white, middle class, young woman with a German passport, which allows me to enter certain spaces and others not. It is my responsibility to understand my positionality within the different spaces I navigate. If I want to create change, I need to first understand myself better (narratives that have shaped my thinking, etc.) and that’s where transformation starts. For example, by rethinking my consumption patterns and my everyday responses and actions: When the little boy I am babysitting asks me to draw a witch for Halloween, I am not drawing him a warty, old woman who is supposed to convey an image of evil but rather draw a woman with a basket of herbs. Which leads to some frustration but then also creates a space for re-imagination. When a friend of mine talks about her ‘daddy issues’, besides the emotional support, I'm trying to put this into a greater context in which women shouldn’t blame themselves, nor be complicit in the ridicule of other women for certain patterns that are symptoms of a greater system of oppression. Addressing social injustices in their partially very subtle, everyday expressions, is a constant reminder for myself to reflect on my own use of language and the implicit biases I have.
Having these kinds of conversations with the people you love is certainly one of the most difficult forms of activism, but also extremely humbling and a reminder of being compassionate. It is the disruption of comfort, of what we take for granted and see as normal, that is a form of activism to me. Always striving for direct action is not necessarily helpful. There is an internal process that has to proceed and continue beyond the action. When we do this collectively, we can understand how different forms of oppression are interconnected. How we as humans are interconnected. And then give room for imagining alternatives to transform reality."