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Doing, Doing, Done(?)

The end of a quarter is always a sprint to get things done. You have papers due, exams to study for, parties for different student  organizations, not to mention packing and travel preparation! There is just so much going on, and it always seems like everyone is busy all of the time. Once you finish everything, however, it seems like life comes to an abrupt stop. You go home for an extra long break (6 whole weeks!) and start going stir crazy since you have so little to do and so much time on your hands. You’re doing everything, and then you’re done.

At Least, that has been the experience for me these past two years.

The end of this quarter, however, has been a little different for me for one specific reason. On Monday evening it was decided that Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Mike Brown in Ferguson this past August, would not be indicted. I have been following the case for the past few months on social media, and even participated in a march that was organized by Kalamazoo students in conjunction with the Arcus Center for Social Justice for Social Justice Leadership, which is based on campus.

Being very passionate about social justice and civil rights, I began to share about what happened on Facebook and tried to explain the real implications of it immediately following the decision. I posted pictures I screen-shotted from live video streams, and told people what I was seeing on the streets of Ferguson. At that time, spreading awareness was all I could do for the movement, but I knew it was my responsibility to do so. So, despite my work, I stayed up until 3am gathering more and more information about the protests, and police brutality. I talked with other students about what was going on, because we were all very upset by it. We were all worrying about how to stay involved when we were all about to head home.

Kalamazoo College and the Arcus Center really allow students to be constantly involved in social justice actions while they are on campus. Almost every week it seems there is some sort of action supporting a different social movement. It is so easy to do so much and to be so involved when you’re at school, but then when you go home for break there is a question of how to stay involved. What can I do to support Ferguson in my own city 9 hours away from Kalamazoo? How can I be active in a community that doesn’t immediately give me opportunities to be active? How do I resist the urge to be lazy all break, and tune out what is going on in the real world?

It’s going to be a struggle, but I’m going to try to stay involved as best I can while I’m home. I can’t just let go of the values I have because it is inconvenient for me. I’m going to keep being active, and do what I can do here.

 

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About Kate Ballew ’17

Kate Ballew (’17) is a sophomore Anthropology/Sociology and Critical Ethnic Studies double-major with a Political Science minor. She is the treasurer of Kaleidoscope, K’s LGBT+ group on campus, and has been a part of multiple theater productions in the Kalamazoo College Festival Playhouse. She is going to study abroad in Trinidad during the Spring of 2015. In her free time she loves petting cats and watching the food network.