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  • Writer's pictureBehind the Mask

Awareness — California

The most valuable principle I’ve learned from being stuck in this perpetual cycle of waking up and doing the same thing is awareness. Since March 13, all I’ve done is wake up (at an unreasonable hour) and binge watch my favorite shows while managing to stuff in some sort of SAT Prep during the day. I continued to be blissfully unaware for a while, but as the weeks went on, more happened.

There was a much needed surge of events that left me bitter towards the world and indignant towards modern society. The BLM movement incited a fiery type of anger inside me that always comes out when I think of these types of unjust occurrences; it made me realize that if I’m given a voice, then I should certainly use it to help those who don’t have one or feel too anxious to do so. Despite the fact that this crusade still hasn’t ended, the world continued to bring attention to a number of humanitarian issues, such as the famine in Yemen. Although I will never be able to speak for those who are currently experiencing these types of problems, I can say that I have witnessed first-hand the struggle of not being able to feed your children. The feeling of sheer panic is something I’ve seen on the face of many of my mom’s siblings; the struggle to feed the ones you love is an unfortunately common occurrence in third world countries and continues to plague those who are helpless. Another issue that spread throughout the nation is the general upsurge in sexual assault awareness. This topic is not one that should be taken lightly, because the percentage of those who are sexually assaulted is alarmingly high, especially for teenagers. We are seen as easy targets and are always preyed upon, which makes us cautious and extremely vigilant. Although we haven’t found a way to combat this problem, it is crucial for these issues to come to light. 

The first step in solving anything is to become aware. Be aware of the incredible amount of privilege you have, be aware and appreciative of what you have, be aware of other people’s traumas, and be aware of yourself and your actions. If COVID has taught me anything, it’s to be aware and alert of what you do and what you put out into the world, because no matter what you think, you do make a difference.

— Brianne Zafra, 17

Fullerton, California


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