I've been thinking a lot about aging in all aspects of my life (unsurprisingly since I'm now in two classes focused on it). Most particularly, though, I've become most preoccupied with the passing, sharing, and co-creation of knowledge and skills that happens among folks of different ages and experience levels.
For the past two years of my time spent at UCSD, I've become intimately involved with the student activist community. I've documented and archived stories of students past, of students who cared deeply for our campus to sacrifice so much - their time, energy, emotions, tears, labor... to the extremes of academic probation and dropping out.
These patterns aren't a thing of the past, however. From my experience, the folks I know involved in student organizing often are struggling to stay in the university and keep up with their academic work.
How would connecting the student-activists today with older folks who, once upon a time, were once in their shoes, affect the way students conduct their activism? How would a long-term perspective on lifelong organizing affect the way today's younger generation in their own work? Would this decrease the amount of crises that seem endemic to the community?
I interviewed, not too long ago, a family member of an older person who themselves were once a prominent activist in the San Diego community. This older adult, Z, as a young person, worked hard and played even harder - in a manner of speaking. Demanding for justice by day, and blowing steam off at night, they eventually developed stress-related health problems that ruined their ability to deal with everyday activities of living...
I see in stories like Z's, the future of my friends and others I know. I believe truly that connecting younger students with older folks might stave off the mistakes of the past, and contribute further to new ways of envisioning a more just future.
- S. Amon