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On Looking For Greatness Outside The Limelight

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On Looking For Greatness Outside The Limelight Photo

by Emma Glassman-Hughes | 08/04/2016

Especially during an election year, and as a writer who is interested in reaching a broad audience, it’s tempting to continue with the trend of 24-hour media conglomerates by focusing all attention and energy on the elites running for president. It’s tempting to paint them as the saviors or the villains of our collective political future, and it’s tempting to use up all our intellectual energy debating who, between the two, is better for this country. This time around, at least for me, the answer couldn’t be more obvious. Donald Trump is a steaming pile of trash attached to a mouth with which I would never kiss my mother, underneath a helmet of discarded orange peels (but the man is anything but a-peel-ing. Sry). Hillary isn’t perfect but she is a fighter and she’s the smartest, most qualified person to ever run for this office in all of U.S. history. She’s an inspiration and she’s the clear choice. So what about everyone else?

Lately my social media accounts have been sprinkled with a fair amount of posts from disillusioned progressives who feel very differently about HRC than I do--they’re devastated that she won the Democratic nomination, and they are struggling to reconcile a vote for her in November. TBH, some of them are just being obnoxious lil’ babies (sorry bout it), while others are taking this experience in stride and trying to find that all-elusive silver lining to what they see as a never-ending political thunderstorm ahead. One of them shared a message that even I, a long-time HRC fangirl, resonated with: despite who is elected POTUS, the real change comes from the people; the real power rests in local action and unity. With this in mind, I want to make a little space to honor and acknowledge the work and dedication of a handful of the unsung political heroes of this country--those for whom the podiums are in short supply, and those for whom the news trucks rarely make an appearance--because they will ultimately be those to meaningfully change things for this country and keep us from backsliding any further.

-A group of youth activists from the Sioux Nation at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota are literally running (yes, with their feet) from their home in North Dakota to Washington D.C. to hand-deliver a letter pleading with legislators to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. No one can predict the future, but this pipeline, which is to be built on the Missouri River (not only just, like, a river that shouldn’t be polluted simply because we should stop polluting things, but also a sacred and historic place for this Sioux tribe), will almost definitely poison the water supply and force these activists with their families out of their homes and onto different land. There are thousands of other instances (in fact, this country was built on them!) of environmental and interpersonal abuses that specifically devastate remaining Native American reservations and groups across the country. Luckily, though, there are thousands of other passionate and bright activists across the country working to counteract the detriment. If you run into these Sioux activists on the trail to the White House, throw ‘em a smile (and maybe a foot massage).

-Shout-out to the neighborhood that has welcomed me home this summer, Flatbush, Brooklyn, where local activists are currently organizing a neighborhood-wide protest against gentrification, racism, and police violence to take place on August 13th. Equality for Flatbush (E4F) is an organization that is tackling local instances of police and municipal brutality from the grassroots, enlisting Flatbush residents of all backgrounds and creeds to peacefully unite against the abuses of one another and their neighbors. If you're in the New York City area, you can join them on the 13th and offer your solidarity!

-Lady Parts Justice is an organization that uses humor and ~feminine~ ~wit~ to address issues of reproductive justice and choice in this country. Not only are they so #onbrand with all of us here at THINX, they are hilarious and proudly pro-woman in every sense. And they have a uterus puppet. So. You decide.

Who are your favorite activists? Tell us down below! Pls.

by Emma Glassman-Hughes

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