By Avery Mandeville
From where I stand, I am scared, sad, angry, and so immensely disappointed. I grew up believing that I inhabited a great nation in a great world full of great people, one that functions effectively to harmoniously serve all living things on our planet.
I was tremendously mislead.
I have learned that the right to live a fulfilled and complete life is not extended to most. Any person who is not a rich, able-bodied, straight, cis, white man is subject to mistreatment and even death by the systems that hold us all captive. People are dying every day because they lack their basic human needs. In the United States, one of the richest countries on the richest continent in the world, people should not have to suffer from a lack of food, water, warmth, shelter, security and safety. Financial stability and education are forsaken as these basic needs go unmet, perpetuating cycles of classism, racism, hunger and abuse.
Every person deserves to live with dignity and be respected as a human being full of emotions, ideas, and dreams.
They do not deserve to be shot and killed by police for a perceived crime. They deserve police abolition and investment in their communities. They do not deserve to drown in bills while battling illness. They deserve free healthcare. They do not deserve to die as soldiers or as civilians in a war they did not start, for a cause they do not claim. They deserve safety and peace. They do not deserve to worry where their next meal will come from when 1.3 billion tons of food goes to waste every year. They deserve nourishment. They do not deserve to sleep out in the cold when there are more unoccupied homes than there are people who are unhoused in the United States. They deserve shelter. They do not deserve deadly discrimination based on gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, or ability. They deserve love and acceptance.
From where I stand, the problems that plague us are rooted in the greed of those who have so much and the exploitation of those who have so little. They are rooted in politics that point blame to the left or right, while upholding the systems of oppression. Our collective suffering is not the fault of our neighbors.
From where I stand, look up. From where I stand, we deserve so much more.