Divestment Roadshow: In the beginning

Divestment Roadshow: In the beginning

Sunday, February 16:

I packed my bags and headed to the bus station. First stop, Washington, D.C. The Roots and Media Divestment Roadshow’s inaugural presentation. Take a deep breath.

The Roots and Media Divestment Roadshow is the brainchild of Johanna DeGraffenreid and Joe Solomon, a social justice educator and social media guru who decided they wanted to share their knowledge and skills with members of the student divestment movement. At the end of last year, they talked to me about getting a member of the new Divestment Student Network on board as well. And so, as an alumni member who doesn’t have school to attend this week in February, I signed on.

For full disclosure, I was out-of-my-mind stressed out about this tour.

The climate justice movement needs strong connectors, and strong motivators. I still remember Tim DeChristopher’s speech from Powershift 2011, when I was in this city 3 years ago as a young, green (in more senses than one), pre-politicized environmentalist. His urgent, desperate call to action sticks with me, even after everything else from that conference has faded from memory. We need people who can tell the story of why we all need to connect, how all our grievances are connected and all our resistance must be as well. A hope of mine has been that young people can act as connectors and be that voice. But to see myself in that role, even on a micro-level, is ludicrously terrifying.

Today, I read this piece of Buddhist philosophy: “Act as if the future of the universe depends on what you do, while laughing at yourself for thinking that your actions make any difference.” I have a whole lot of laughing at myself to do. I’m not going to change the world by thinking I’m going to change the world. One foot in front of the other.

Instead, I’m going out to talk to students about what matters to them, and what matters to me–how to create a movement of kickass student and youth leaders, that learns how to be effective activists, builds power on campus, and creates momentum even beyond divestment and beyond graduation.