Remembering PowerUp!

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by Lydia Miller-Jewett

This piece also appeared in Issue 2 of The Orange Square, the publication of the national Divestment Student Network.

This January, Earlham from a semester-long abroad program. There are innumerable differences that one suddenly notices upon returning to a familiar campus after a while away. They are of varying degrees, from brand new buildings, to subtly changed decoration. But few changes can be as exciting as hurrying across campus for a class and suddenly seeing orange squares walk by with you, pinned on back packs or coats…

The orange square has become visible on our campus, in a noticeably more prevalent way that I have been lucky enough to really get to observe. But what has made me find this even more exciting is the fact that I remember Power Up 2013 when the orange square was presented to us at the along with a hope that it would become a symbol of the movement – a movement that is connected, not separate from others. It is always important to remember that having a solid symbol doesn’t mean everything else is also just as solid, but it is quite an amazing step. And this step toward solidity is just one of many. To have Power Up happening again, sure to be only better than before. is another of these steps. A lot of good happened during our time on Swarthmore’s beautiful campus. We started the weekend out in what was probably the best foreshadowing for what we have been focusing on so much more during this past year – we stood in solidarity with Swarthmore’s team as they confronted a trying board meeting, something we all can certainly relate to. And this is what I mean. We started it out by supporting others, recognizing that we are all in this together, and that we understand each other. But throughout the weekend we also had the unique and necessary opportunity to learn what differences we were all facing… different tactics, thoughts, starting places, and emotions…

We began some incredibly important conversations that are imperative for the success of this movement. We set the space to start looking critically at ourselves: the inclusiveness (or lack there of) in the movement, the privilege… the marginalization. We must continue to constantly check our selves… ask if we are working with or detrimentally speaking for our brothers and sisters. These are the things that we must continue to tackle as this movement solidifies. Because it is solidifying. It is making progress. WE are making progress. And with the Fossil Fuel Divestment Convergence 2014 as proof, the space for coming together and continuing to make this progress will just keep growing with us.

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