Before “Academia, Love Me Back” my blog was an intimate space where words were mine and my passions could be semi-privately tucked away behind a screen. Now I am keenly aware of how many people are reading this. Although the intimacy is gone, a new network of solidarity has kindly replaced it. In 2016, my resolution was to start a blog. In 2017, my resolution is to continue it.
I decided to write this follow up post yesterday (finally, I know) as I marched alongside a hundred and fifty thousand people in the Boston Women’s March. I looked around me while we gathered in Boston Common and felt the need now more than ever to create content. I had the realization that in these next few years, activism will increase tenfold and more and more voices of the oppressed need to be heard. So, instead of being silenced by those in power we must utilize our online presence and stop waiting for other people to publish us. We can publish ourselves.
“Academia, Love Me Back” is an experience I will never forget. The love I received from powerful, beautiful, and kind individuals has given me the motivation to pursue my dreams. After the post, I no longer walk alone. I have the power and solidarity of millions behind me.
I have been told by many not to look at the comments of my post and of course I tried in the beginning to find bliss in ignorance but at one point I fell down the rabbit hole. As I scrolled through the comments I saw “slit your wrist,” “spik,” “you’re racist,” and other phrases not worth repeating. Although I acknowledge the vile nature of these comments, unintentionally these trolls supported my growth. Whether or not you understood my post and my experience, everyone who entered my blog amplified my voice.
To conclude this short post, I read as many of your messages as possible and recorded your letters so I want to end this with a sincere and heavy thank you. After a few months of fearing additional backlash, I am finally excited to start using this page again. Thank you once again for giving up a few minutes of your day to read my words. Because of you, I am heard.
The picture accompanied with this post was taken at Stockton University. I was kindly invited to share my story and empower RA’s to use their agency as student leaders to facilitate change. Special thank you to RD Joseph Argueta for advocating to have me on their campus.