TO CONTRIBUTE to nation-building and end apathy, the youth must unite and create changes in the society by spreading awareness and taking stand on various issues.
This was the challenge of speakers from different universities to Artlets during DANAS: The 4th UST Literary Society Social Issues Seminar on ‘Nation’-Building and Liberation held April 19 at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex.
“You have to work together with other people. It’s about amplifying your impact. Please join other people in their causes, take comfort, knowing that you are not alone in this battle because it’s not an easy one,” said Nathania Chua, a professor from the Ateneo de Manila University.
Tackling the current administration’s “war on drugs” that has seen the deaths of thousands of people, Chua recognized that the youth’s collective action is better than individual efforts.
“Whatever injustices we have today, they will still be here a year from now, a decade from now, [and] even a century from now. But we have to make these changes slowly together as a group because when institutions or organizations stand together, it’s a much stronger impact,” she said.
Adrienne Onday, a student-activist from the University of the Philippines, moreover, said the youth should not think about the impact of their efforts.
“Hindi mahalaga kung gaano kalaki ‘yung na-pe-perceive mong impact ng gagawin mo. Ang mahalaga [ay] kung ano ‘yung pinaniniwalaan mong would be for the good of all,” Onday said.
Both speakers believe that the youth should take advantage of their freedom of expression when taking stances on national issues.
“Kailangan nating alalahanin na hindi lang dapat tayo ‘yung nag-e-enjoy ng mga karapatang ito. Dapat ‘yung mga taong hindi man natin kilala, [whatever or whoever they are], gawin natin ‘yung makakaya natin para mabigyan sila ng atensyon, para mabigyan sila ng boses sa lipunan,” Onday said.
Chua, likewise, said taking stands on various issues allows the youth to be one with the oppressed in their fight against the injustices in the government.
“To choose not to take sides [and] to choose not to get involved, that shows your privilege of how lucky you are that nothing is at stake for you. […] For them (oppressed and marginalized people), they are taking a stand because it’s life or death for them,” the professor said.
“Bilang students at bilang pag-asa ng bayan, lagi’t lagi tayong mayroong magagawa,” Onday added.
“Kailangan lang natin buksan ang mga mata natin at ma-realize na kung ano ‘yung resources natin na pwede nating gamitin para baguhin ang bansa natin.” F KRYSTAL GAYLE R. DIGAY