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Against My Activism

Against My Activism
a poem by Julianne Tenorio

Dear Asian Youth,


Be quiet.

Silence yourself.

You’re ruining your aesthetic.

All phrases people have said to me, even my own friends, when seeing

the things I’ve posted

the pieces I’ve written.

I’m expected to follow in their empty footsteps,

sitting on the sidelines just to watch and yell a sugar coated cheer every now and then

Only to be washed away by waves of blissful ignorance

I’m expected to disregard how our world is crumbling into ashes

Rejoice in our privileged bubbles

It doesn’t affect me, so why should I care about it?

Their profiles remain stagnant

As their feed reflects from my glasses

I think, it’s tempting

To just stop.

My mind wanders to all of the times that I thought I wasn’t doing enough

All of the times when I felt burnt out trying to keep up with everything,

What if I went against my activism?

My mother holds my face in her hands

“Anak, don’t be so radical,”

As she scoffs at the videos of

protests and riots

That she would never let me attend.

Her eyes pierce my skin

Slicing through my opinionated words

Stripping away my confidence

But her face softens

As her expression morphs into worry

Is she against my activism?

My father listen to the radio

His fingers turning up the volume button

I watch in disgust

He smiles in agreement

Nodding his head along as the reporters mock BLM

Mock what I’ve been advocating for this whole time

Mock my efforts to campaign for equality

So is he too

Against my activism?

I’ve had multiple arguments with my parents

Our beliefs clashing


Asteroids crashing into Earth

Explosive reactions

I try to convince them why I believe what I do

While they shoot back telling me I shouldn’t care so much

And I understand, I do

Keep an open mind, my mom repeats to me

I breathe and I nod, my smile weak

They’re trying to protect me from going in over my head

From becoming an extremist, a political terrorist

But I have to remind myself

I’m not like that.

I’m not some passive little girl

Waiting for our justice to be served on a silver platter

Watching my friends just overlooking global outrage

Wishing that I could do the same to fit in

I’m not some quiet little doll

To be shaped into the toxic norms of our society

As my parents hint at me that I shouldn’t grow up like this

Though I appreciate their concern

Yet I don’t understand why they’re so unwilling to learn

I demand for change

I demand for equality

I demand that our poisoned society reform itself

The venomous fangs of injustice sinking into our skin

I demand that we recognize we have the antidote, the remedy

Absorb and allow ourselves to heal

Allow it to course through our veins

So I

Julianne Tenorio

Embrace my ideas

Appreciate my participation

And swear to never go

against my activism.

- Julianne

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