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Not a Response Piece

By Shewit Zerai ’18

I really don’t want this to be a response piece because I’m tired of being reactionary. I’m tried of having my thoughts and feelings framed in response to the fucked-up shit I read and see happening every day. In an academic and social environment where I feel like I’m constantly “on” and needing to be critical and deconstruct everything, I really just want to take a minute and build something for myself and my community.

So this isn’t a response to that piece in The Clerk because I’m done having to convince people of my worth.

This is a statement of love, solidarity, power, and sadness. This is a piece dedicated to combating those feelings of stress, loneliness, despair, hopelessness, anger, rage, and anxiety. This is a piece I felt I needed to write because not writing for so long has kept my heart heavy, my mind weary, and my body in pain.

My life matters. But that’s just the beginning, because securing the basic humanity and self-worth of BIPOC* is too basic at this point for me. It’s not enough to just be alive; I need to be thriving. My communities need to be thriving. The communities of those I love need to be thriving.

I’m not sure the intention of this piece, except to be a disruption. A rupture in what is often a slew of think pieces that try to righteously argue for our humanity, for things so basic that it’s frustrating to read because my analytical side has a thousand and one arguments ready to go but my emotions are just screaming “why is this so difficult for you to understand?” You can’t use logic to deconstruct white supremacy because at its base level it is illogical. I will not spend my energy fighting battles that can not be won and getting into arguments that will only serve to drain me. I get a lot of joy reading the brilliant responses of my fellow Womxn of Color and I’m amazed by them every day and sad that they put in so much free intellectual labor that this school really doesn’t deserve and does not pay them back for. This is a piece born out of that I suppose. I’m not putting any intellectual labor into this, this is for me and for people like me because I have spent three and a half years explaining the most basic shit and at this point the ignorance is willful and not my responsibility to fix (not that it ever was).

What’s inspiring to me is how, no matter what, BIPOC always come through, always support each other and this community even when it fails them and mostly we do it without recognition. The resilience of the people I am honored to call my friends and comrades in the struggle uplifts me every damn day so I guess what this piece is is a thank you. Thank you and I see you and I hope you see me too.
*(Black Indigenous People of Color, a term that serves to highlight the stolen land we walk on and the blood spilled to build it)


  1. Alicia Lopez-Torres February 28, 2017

    Thank you, I needed this

  2. Angelique Spencer March 1, 2017

    I love you Shewit

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