By Contributing Writer-Asha Burwell
As a law student, I’ve found myself feeling frustrated and overwhelmed while hearing about the countless social and racial justice issues currently being amplified within our nation. From dealing with the racial disparities and components of COVID-19, to fighting against police brutality and the lack of recognition for Black lives, to reminding the world not to forget about Black woman, all while balancing internships, remote learning, as well as outside obligations pertaining to the movement. Being a student during these times can often cause feelings of confusion. You often find yourself asking “how can I help?” And “where do I begin?” Throughout these past couple of months, I’ve engaged myself in multiple forms of activism, all while developing an understanding of how I can best use my connections and resources to help others. I’ve been to peaceful protests, I’ve witnessed protests not so peaceful, I’ve written letters and sent emails, I’ve attended dozens of zoom meetings and movement lawyering labs, as well as signing petitions and making calls. But, I’m here to remind you that there is no clear path towards justice. If you are doing what you can and using what you have, that is enough. You are enough.
I can honestly say I was not prepared to have my social media turn into a reflection of activism and justice. I assume none of us were. However, often times during the most crucial movements within this nation, many Black people were called to the frontlines unexpectedly. I was never prepared to be an organizer and I personally do not consider myself a civil rights activist, as I feel that title must be earned, and I have not yet done enough. To be active, however, is something we all can do. We can all hold ourselves and others accountable of learning, connecting with each other, and brainstorming at all levels about what we can do with where we are and what we have.
In three short weeks I was made aware of the various levels of organizing that exist, while preparing for the July 4th demonstration for Black women that took place at the U.S. Supreme Court. It was a mixture of using my connections as a Howard University alumna, a UDC law student, a community member, and simply, a concerned Black woman. When I realized that we don’t need to have a mass following to get things done. So, for all the students out there that feel they aren’t yet enough to be someone who can shake the ground, I am guaranteeing that you are.
You are more than enough to promote change and the world is depending on us to being committed to doing so. Hold your schools accountable; engage in dialogue with your administration, your professors, and your peers; demand that the power your institutions hold to be used for good. And then, do your part. Whether for you that be going extra hard in the books and obtaining that degree to be used as a force, joining that organization you always wanted to, applying for that internship or job you put on hold, making that call, sending that email, attending that protest, whatever you are able to do, now is not the time to doubt your capabilities.
Some say 2020 was cancelled, I don’t believe that. This is the year the curtain has opened on an array of issues within the world that have been ignored for far too long. This is our time to do what is right. This is your time. You are strong, you are powerful, and you are the change. We are not done.
Follow, UDC Black Law Students Association, President-Elect, Asha Burwell @ashabwell, for bringing us onboard