This February, I had the chance to attend a-once-in-a-lifetime event hosted in honor of Black History Month. Angela Davis, the American political activist, scholar, Civil Rights Movement icon, and former leader of the Communist Party, came to Smith College and spoke about the social justice issues plaguing modern America. In just one speech, Davis discussed everything from the inequalities caused by the American justice system, the root of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and the problems stemming from continued Western imperialism. Needless to say, her talk was engaging, relevant, and fascinating. But, more importantly, it challenged the way that I thought and offered me the opportunity to learn and grow.
One of my favorite moments from the event was when Davis said, ”Once we know something, let us not pretend we do not know it.” In that moment, I realized that most social justice problems only continue to exist because people pretend to be ignorant about the world’s inequalities and injustices. As a Rwandan, a feminist, and a future political activist or politician, it was inspiring to learn from someone like Davis who has dealt with issues similar to those with which we are currently struggling. By being a living testament to how one person can make a difference, Angela Davis showed me that I can do anything so long as I keep learning and never let myself become discouraged.
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