In the morning of the second day I was excited and ready to begin. It was a polar opposite of what I felt at the end of the day; I felt nervous to keep going, I felt afraid and I felt absent. Everything that I saw related to the way my family acted. Being part Guatemalan it would hit. Knowing my father saw some of the atrocities and lived through some of the pain was difficult. Though it is not talked about at home and is a taboo subject for the family the brokenness that was left is evident and creates a division. This division that not only exists in the personal but that also exists in the political.
The same divide that I saw in my family I saw in those who spoke with us today. I wonder the mentality that is set in every single person to take the position they take. And while some more radical than others, the theme was recognition of the atrocities caused by the military during the Genocide.
The way we see and observe things derives from our lived experiences. Often in academia or higher education professors don’t acknowledge our lived experiences as students as a form of education. These lived experiences carry onto our prose, our critical analysis and our perspective on the world. Everyone has led a different and unique life and that is part of what makes us human. The differences are required in order to progress as a society yet the school system attempts to homogenize us. As a student of color I find it harder and harder to be myself in my prose and who I am in the classroom because I want to be able to satisfy my professor and grade. Where does that leave students who don’t share the same ideologies that professors do because lived experiences were so distinct?
The second day being Guate made me realize that there is no reason why I should succumb to the status quo, there is no reason why I should do what an authoritative figure tells me to do or why I shouldn’t question them. But I’ve also witnessed here that while there is no reason we should we do, we do not question, we do everything that is told of us and we take everything in even if we are being deceived. The mentality of fear holds us to this. A young woman who spoke from her heart and talked so emotionally yet so profound touched my heart but also my rationale. We don’t succumb because we choose to but because we are forced into believing that we have to in order to move on. What we take in and don’t question is what we’ve normalized but half of what we know as normalize we continue to find affects someone negatively.
If we don’t question, we won’t know. If we don’t ask, we won’t know. If we live blind to the real answers we’ll always live controlled by those who want to control us. But if we ask, if we read, if we become critical citizens then will we have the ability to change something whether in more radical or moderate way. And once we have that realization of the invisible chains that are disguised as anklets will we be able to break free and truly be able to change more than we think we can change, especially the youth.