I'm Crying For The People Of Charlottesville

I'm Crying For The People Of Charlottesville

"Make America Great Again?" Step aside and we will.

I never thought I would live in a time where Nazis freely walked our streets.

Never, in a million years, did I think that Nazis were going to be making the headlines in modern papers.

Never did I think that this nation was going to be divided like it had been in the past.

I never thought I was going to be wrong.

But I was wrong.

The protests and counter-protests and riots and incidences and murders in Charlottesville have me absolutely disgusted in this world. To put it simply, I am terrified. Terrified for the people there now, terrified for the future of this nation, terrified for what this year is going to look like written down in the history books—if we even survive to see it written down.

I am a white, and I know that I am privileged because of that. I've never had someone spit on me because of the pigment of my skin. Never have I been the one to stand out in the crowd because of my skin tone. I have never had to fear for my life because of my race or my ethnicity. I cannot even begin to imagine the horrors that people go through every single day of their lives because they do not have white skin, and it makes me sick just thinking about it.

Reading the news and watching videos about Charlottesville has made me really thinking about a lot of things. Watching news coverage and hearing crowds chant "f*ck the faggots" made me sick. Seeing the video of the car intentionally hitting the crowd left me speechless. Hearing testimonies from the KKK themselves made me want to never leave the house again.

This is not a protest. These are not people exercising their constitutional rights.

This is terrorism. This is murder. This is not okay.

I have become ashamed to be a white American.

I do not care your political beliefs, your opinions on who should marry whom, whether you think that you are better than someone else because you have more or less melanin in your skin; however, the instant that your "opinions" prevent other people from existing and living to see tomorrow, I have a problem. You are a problem.

I can only do so much. I cannot pretend that I will suffer at the hands of these people because I will not. I have white privilege, and as much as I wish that it were not a thing to have, it is. But I can stand by the sides of those who are discriminated against and be their support if they need me. I can speak out and try to spread awareness. Even if I am only able to wage this war with my words on a page, I will do it.

They deserve better. This nation deserves better. The world deserves better. We were not put on this Earth to play God and decide who lives and who dies. I do not know the purpose of life, but I can be damn sure that it is not this.

Hey, Alt-Rights, I hear you. Only straight, white, Christian men should be free to walk this Earth. I've got it easy—I'm white and Christian, I've got two of the boxes checked. But guess what? You do not get to decide who gets to live and who deserves to die. You are not God. You are not a higher power. You are human beings and you are wrong. You are murdering innocent people who you and your ancestors have oppressed since the beginning.

Call me a Liberal Snowflake, an "Anti-American." Tell me I deserve to die because I refuse to lie down in your little box. Yes, please, tell me more how I need to serve my husband and that I am a temple that exists only to heed his every command. I can take it.

You do not get to tell African-Americans that they need to be subservient to you. You do not get to tell Jews that they need to die. You do not get to injure and kill people who are not like you. You have absolutely no right. If you think that you do, you are a Nazi. You are a racist, you are sexist, and you are the very problem that you claim to be so insistent on eradicating from this world. "Make America Great Again?" Step aside and we will.

Cover Image Credit: CNN

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.


Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?


This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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