“The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes, in seeing the universe with the eyes of another, of hundreds, of others, in seeing the hundreds of universes that each of them sees.” — Marcel Proust
As we have moved through Arizona over the past two weeks, we have discovered new perspectives that have shaken my world view. I have seen Grand Gulch, and it has become a special place in my heart. I want that place and its beauty to be protected so its majesty can remain. Donald Trump removed it from the Bears Ears National Monument and opened it up to mining, grazing, and oil. He believes that our land should bleed if it means profit can be gained. I have moved through the Navajo Nation and seen the lack of resources that its people have: no running water, limited crops, shitty soil. They are expected to live off of land that is not good enough for white Americans – and the government still tries to gain their limited resources while ignoring their needs. I have seen the Glen Canyon Dam. It destroyed the landscape, is only at half capacity, and loses water to evaporation. Why does it exist when Lake Mead could be filled with the water of Lake Powell? I have seen the imperial valley and the way our food is grown. Migrant workers spend their whole lives growing our lettuce whilst not having access to healthy foods for their families. I have seen the border wall that towers over the landscape and separates the US and Mexico, but only in a symbolic way as the wall does not actually protect our border.
After seeing all of this, how can I go back to the way I lived before this trip? How can I stay silent while politicians make our land bleed for riches. How can I ignore the cries of native people? How can I eat healthy foods and ignore the fact that so many others cannot? How can I make a change? How will I make my voice heard when so many don’t want to hear what I need to say? I will move into my future with my new knowledge of the things I have seen. I will make my voice heard until those in power have to listen. I will continue to care about these places and make sure others understand their needs. But most importantly, I will work to show others what I have seen to inspire them.