From ‘the worst of times’ springs hope

Ana Ruth Lugo Mejia , Multi-Media Managing Editor

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,

It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,

It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,

It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness

It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,

We had everything before us, we had nothing before us,

We were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way

In short, the period was so far like the present period,

That some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received,

for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only”

From Charles Dickens ‘A Tale of Two Cities”


I happened to come upon these famous first lines of an acclaimed book a couple of days ago, and for some reason I think this one resonates with present day circumstances.

Since day one of 2018 (if you kept up with the news), every day, the announcements seemed to get worse and worse. You never know what you’ll wake up to.

The United States president—time and time again—proves he is not capable for the job he signed up for. That’s what happens when power mets ineptitude…

The State of the Union Address transpired with nothing unexpected. President Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union address. Like it’s been for the past year, all eyes were on him and what outrageous thing he would do or say next. By now we are all used to the way he is, if he doesn’t like something he just ignores it because it somehow bothers him, maybe because deep down he knows it’s the truth.

Of course no one would expect him to talk about adult film star Stormy Daniels because that’s his private life, about the controversial “Fire and Fury” or Russia because well…

He has to keep up appearances, you see. Not everything is going as planned.

He has made history, nobody could deny that. He is the first president of the United States of America who is a reality television “star,” someone who has bankrupt more than once, who tweets like crazy in the middle of the night, the president who has visited golf clubs more than 90 times in his first official year in office, a talented insulter, and a record of administration officials have resigned or been fired and the list goes on and on.

He has been silent when the nation needs him the most. But with trivial topics like ratings or his ridiculous awards for Fake News he is there and he is fast.

But amidst his “priorities” have been some awakening issues and some great things to highlight.

Silence is not an option anymore and it hopefully never be will from now on.

The TIME’S UP and the #metoo movement concerning sexual harassment garnered a lot of attention. Women (and men) will no longer stay silent and will no longer tolerate harassment in the workplace. TIME’S UP, a movement that started in Hollywood after several actresses accused Harvey Weinstein of harassment and/or rape was founded January 1, 2018. But it was also prompted by an open letter published in the Times back in November 2017 when Alianza Nacional de Campesinas noted experience of sexual harassment among female farmworkers. Since its foundation it has raised more than $20 million to help with legal defense funding for less fortunate and less resources than those in Hollywood.

It is important that such a movement happened when it did. For so long women have had to endure (and at times permit) this kind of behavior either because of ignorance, because they felt they had no choice, and it was the only way to further their careers.

These movements have also brought attention to equality. It is time that women should be treated equally in the work place. It is time that women get paid the same as their counterparts. I have always been surprised at the fact that when it comes to tuition, gender doesn’t matter. But when it comes to the salary we received for doing the same job as our counterparts gender does matter. It seems that women somehow are always at a disadvantage.

But no more. From now on it will be a different story…

It was supposed to be a day of celebration, of love, but instead for the students at Marjory  Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida February 14, 2018 will remain as the day when of one of the deadliest school of massacres took place. Watching it live, I could not fathom what those students were going through. Terror had struck the nation, once again.

I sat down horrified trying to understand the dark side of humanity.

At the time I thought that the worst aspect of the tragedy is that probably nothing would change. I thought that this would be only one of the many massacres in schools this years and maybe years to come.

But what I didn’t expect and I am sure many as well was the reaction of the students at Parkland. A revolution that no one could see coming.

These kids took it upon themselves to do something adults should have taken care of a long time ago. The Parkland survivors have become heroes to many: standing up for what they think is right. The movement #NeverAgain and #EnoughisEnough was born, the movements called out lawmakers and the National Rifle Association (NRA). A movement blossomed so strong that this past Saturday (March 24) millions of people gathered in different cities in the US. “March for our Lives” was a student-led demonstration in support of tighter gun control restrictions. Many people in their ignorance have misconstrued the whole meaning of it, saying they want to ban guns altogether when all they want is control over who can access a gun. It should not be easy to own or to have access to an assault weapon, like it’s been proven it is.

So if you ask me, how is this year going so far?

I would tell you that it’s been interesting, it’s been unpredictable, and it’s been inspiring.

It is often in hard times when voices are heard, when voices rise up. It is often through harsh conditions and trials that we learn to appreciate what’s important.

The only thing we need is people willing to listen, act out and ultimately make a change for the better.