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  • Writer's pictureSiria Contreras

Not Every Battle Is Your Fight to Fight

There are more causes than time these days it seems.

From human rights to regulating corporations, healthcare reform, the climate crisis and everything in between, if you’re looking to make a difference opportunities abound.

On these particularly fruitful first couple of days of February--fruitful because it brought us the powerful dynamos John Lewis, Nina Simone, Zitkala-Sa and also first President George Washington who I don’t put in the same category as the first three, but also noteworthy. This day also serves as my annual reminder to revisit more Zitkala-Sa (pictured left).

This past week was an interesting one to say the least as my extended time in Austin, TX became even more eventful in what I’d realized that I’d referred to inaccurately as a “weather crisis” when in reality what occurred was once again a “leadership crisis” and “privatization of resources” disguised as “maintaining of the status quo” or an act in the “best interest of the people”. There are valid arguments of both sides, but the truth is that power and greed sullies one side’s argument more than the other. End result is millions of Texas residents sat with either no electricity, potable water, natural gas, or all three in what was really what would be considered just your run-of-the-mill winter snowstorm in most Northeastern and Midwestern states, even if not the norm in this 2nd most populous state of the U.S. While the snow and ice handicapped most, it was the fact that residents didn’t have access to the utilities that would keep them warm that was the true crisis. All businesses shut down as hazardous road conditions kept employees from getting to work--soon a mess of shortages--from propane to natural gas, water, and eventually basic pantry and produce staples.

The PTSD brought upon us all from the initial COVID-19 social distancing orders from last March resurfaced as Texans with an “I’m not going to chance what comes next” attitude emptied the shelves of local grocery stores in record speeds. It is also worth noting that we are still in the throes of a pandemic that is finally seeing some proper management, but with over a year of ineptness at the helm still months away from being harnessed.

This situation gave me very little to no tolerance for the shenanigans and lollygagging of “elected officials” like Ted Cruz, but especially Ted Cruz.Especially not when you see the stark contrast of actual public servants like “AOC” and Beto O’Rourke who don’t have to do all that they are doing.

In fact, someone who I’m quite close to had the nerve to say to me that “the poor guy was being bullied” and “if I had the chance to leave with my family to get away from what was happening wouldn’t I?”. I replied with a flat “No” and likely gave them my death glare that due to my diplomatic nature likely only makes an appearance about once a year, but perhaps a bit more in the past four years. “I have more integrity than that” and “please don’t ever compare me to that poor excuse for a public servant”.

You would either laugh or be quite surprised if you knew who said this to me, but that’s besides the point. I honestly normally would not even waste my time on someone like “Cancun Cruz” just like I didn’t waste my time on the passing of “Rush Limbaugh” who I listened to enough of years and years ago only to hear the right-wing side of things, but quickly learned that “divide and defeat” was the M.O. of so many political shock-jocks who enjoyed the sound of their voices a little too much. However, Cruz if nothing is done before his term ends, remains in his seat until 2025 and I already don’t know what he’s accomplished that would redeem him in my eyes for him to be allowed to serve a full-term.

I had a call with a conservative up-and-coming politician, at the insistence of all people, his mother— who has been trying to get me to date him for what seems like years now. I’ve gotten really good at laughing my way out of things like this, but finally caved in to a virtual call. He comes from the right (literally politically as well) family, went to the right schools, and has actually accomplished a lot in the past decade. While, I only agreed to having a quick call with him because I mostly wanted to get the conservative viewpoint on what is currently happening in Texas, I did have to remind him that I worked hard to get a Democrat in office and Democratic majority in the senate and as much as that aforementioned diplomacy might be my more natural state, that I didn’t envision this being the match that his mother a really great author and professor envisioned We ended up having a really nice conversation and his views actually are more moderate than they are conservative, more like the Republicans I knew as a youth. Yet, there were still some differences in viewpoints and desired next steps in areas like the Racial Justice, Immigration Rights, Renewable Energy and a few other things. I’m sure that as a resource I may call on him again, but that will likely be the extent of our future, a friendship driven more by intellectual discourse on hypotheticals within this political realm that we currently find ourselves in. Definitely a great new friend.

Discussing the area of the Climate Crisis was interesting, that is actually one of the areas that I’d hoped to be primarily focusing on at this time as I dive deeper into the black hole of viable solutions and ways to help with our Gen Z teams, but i also can’t turn a blind eye to human suffering so also quickly set-up a relief fund via The Nourish Foundation and additional resources for the Austin residents in need in the past week that we announced just a couple of days ago officially.

All of this takes me back to my first paragraph, in every single city across our nation and in every country around the globe there are a plethora of issues that a person can help improve by donating their time, money, voice, or platform. Yet, you have to find what matters to you most in order to truly make an impact, as you’ll need to feel invested enough to take the extra steps to really help make situations better for the long run. Sometimes donating money is enough, but other times it takes breaking something apart and putting it back together in a new and more equitable way. Sometimes it involves breaking ourselves and rewiring how we think, analyze, and process to ensure that we’re helping for the right reasons and that lasting change happens within us as well.

Not everyone is willing to do that, I myself can’t commit to helping every single cause and therefore try to stick to a handful that matter to me, but 1-2 that I invest more of myself in as I still need to maintain some life balance in order to be most effective in the various areas of my life that either interest me, bring me revenue, or that need me to be present. I don’t feel the same passion for every cause and I can easily admit that I can’t invest my energy into every fight.

It is easy to lose oneself going from one cause to another and another, I laugh when I imagine that this must be what my Facebook feed might look like, my Instagram feed or LinkedIn feeds look a bit different yet in reality what is posted on any social platform actually shares such a small sliver of my life that although I will always be transparent, in actuality I quite enjoy my privacy.

I will say in closing though, that if you came out of 2020 with no cause that you felt compelled to support or to take vocal or physical action around, I question your heart, your mind, and most of all your humanity.


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