EDITORIAL: The revolution will be live

A note from the managing editors

EDITORIAL: The revolution will be live

A note from the managing editors

This year gave us a Friday the 13th that certainly lived up to the hype. March 13 was the day Ryerson transitioned to online classes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Walking home from campus, we saw students gathered in groups, others talking into their phones and more than one trying to run somewhere—all of them were in some state of panic. The disaster we hoped we'd only have to read about quickly became a controlling factor in our lives.

Since then, both of us have lived together in a 100 plus year-old house right by campus and will be locked down here with our house rat Remy for the next month. (Rhea has been vibing under the dining room table, listening to Dido, while Kiernan has been transcending on the regular to drum and bass.)

This has been our reality for the past eight months. On the outside, life sometimes feels like it's at a standstill; like every day is the same. But if we look closely, behind our tiny screens is a new type of action we have never seen before. We've known since March that change is in store for us, across the country and the world. What we couldn't have imagined is that only young folks, collectively, can decide what that change will be.

Since May, collectives and movements have used online platforms to get the masses to mobilize. The country saw Black Lives Matter (BLM) Canada had taken to the streets in June and witnessed online when Indigenous land defenders formed blockades while occupying Haudenosaunee territory at 1492 Land Back Lane. The pandemic may have halted time for some, but for these groups, time is of the essence. To go back to ‘normal' is to go back to constant oppression, racism and violations of basic human rights. For marginalized people, ‘normal' is not the comfort of clubs, restaurants, or life as it once was. ‘Normal' doesn't hold people in power accountable.

If in March we knew the world could not go back to normal, by May we were imagining what could come next. We imagined affordable housing for ourselves and those experiencing homelessness, institutions held accountable to their decades of prejudice and how we could emerge from this crisis with renewed vigor against climate change. We damn-well demanded dignity, equity and peace—once, for all and forever—for people who are Black and Indigenous across the world.

But of course, we've seen Ontario Provincial Police arrest land defenders like Skylar Williams and Courtney Skye; saw Jenna Reid, Danielle Smith and Daniel Gooch charged for tagging the Egerton Ryerson statue on Ryerson's campus; and encampments raided by Toronto police across the parks in the city.

Fighting for change comes at a cost, but the fight persists. Social media disseminates the message of justice and allowed for these stories to be told. It spawned rallies, protests, food donations, large bodies of people marching and occupying to protest alongside them.

Civil rights icon James Baldwin wrote that "not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." Currently, without a vaccine, we know that COVID-19 can't be changed. But through the reality of this pandemic, we've faced how much in our unequal society that we must change and just how worthy the fight is for that possibility alone.

That's exactly what the stories in this issue are all about: the miraculous "how" and the indisputable "why" people are fighting for systemic change in the midst of it all. More than just knowing these issues exist, we want you to think about how they've come to be in the first place, why they've persisted for so long and what it will take to address them. Your phone isn't just a chunk of metal–it's a tool you can utilize to empower yourself and those around you, to share content that uplifts voices and spreads information. The power lies in our hands.

Through these months, we've watched as our friends and family learned, discussed and even cried through these small screens. All we want to do is hold them close, but we first have to hold them and ourselves accountable. Like it or not, change is coming; what it looks like is up to you.