[OPINION] The truth in placards: Why activists are not a nuisance
For some people, activists are a nuisance. They scorn protesters when mobilizations cause heavy traffic along España and Recto; they complain at the sight of graffiti by Panday Sining; and they claim that their taxes are wasted on UP students who seem to do nothing but voice out their concerns. (READ: [OPINION] Activism is not a waste of time)
As an activist myself, I think activism is beyond these things. It has always been about being together as one, no matter where you are from.
I don't know how I managed to be an activist despite my fear of crowded places, especially places that require standing in the scorching heat. Holding a placard with both hands, I would feel my lips getting drier as police begin arriving in trucks. They would disembark and start taking pictures and notes. But even though I would feel my heart racing, I would also recognize that I've become braver than I've ever been.
There is power when you know what you are fighting for. You know it’s right to junk rice liberalization when you've encountered a farmer who won't eat with you, for fear that she might get used to eating 3 times a day. You know it’s right to fight for education when you've experienced teaching in different sectors, and see that children from deprived sectors require greater patience, time, and materials for their learning needs. You know it’s right to vouch for quality and affordable health care when you see patients sharing one bed in public hospitals. You know that although you have a higher income compared to those standing with you at the Mendiola Peace Ark, you share the same thirst for justice. (READ: [OPINION] Activism, from someone you wouldn't expect)
Some people think, “Maghanap na lang kasi kayo ng solusyon.” The thing is, we have always sought, promoted, and implemented solutions within our capability – sometimes at the cost of activists' lives.
No education for indigenous people? Institutions and volunteer organizations help establish Lumad schools, and then what happens? The children themselves get accused of being recruited as New People’s Army members. For most of my life, I know people will call me “komunista” or “NPA,” and they will convict me without any proof, or twist the truth so I could fit into their idea of what an activist is. (READ: [OPINION] Duterte is making a big mistake)
At the end of the day, though, I know I am and will not be alone. The worse this political landscape gets, the more relieved I actually am, because I know this means the people from Malacañang are painting themselves into a corner. It has always been man’s nature to seek freedom, and it is the truth that always sets us free. – Rappler.com
Ma. Guadalupe Robles is a Filipino who recently migrated to the United States of America. She graduated senior high school at the University of Santo Tomas under the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics strand. She used her skills in tutoring and the arts to teach children from urban poor areas and to campaign for their rights. She is still raising awareness and campaigning about national issues by posting her artworks on social media.