By Akosua Darko

Dear women, LGBT students, International students, Black students and disabled students – happy new year!

Opression has held us back, made us the bottom of the totem pole in society and left us with so many scars and feelings of alienation, self hate and feelings of low self worth. We have had to battle to find worth in ourselves and constantly have to challenge societal opression and the constant racism, homophic, xenophobia, discrimination and sexism thrown towards us. This can leave feelings of bitterness, anger and a lot of pain.

Now I’m not telling anyone what to do. I will just give advice, take from it or agree with what you will. This is advice I give to myself too. Don’t let it eat you alive, in


a world were you may be constantly pushed aside, demeaned and downgraded. Remember you are worth something, you are a person. That should make you fight for your rights, regardless of what you hear or what you’ve been through you deserve everything everyonelse does. Continue to fight and remember a whole host of people are fighting for you, with you and have fought for you. You are not alone, you are so loved and you are worthy of love. Love yourself in a world that says you are not good enough to be, because you so are! Those words telling you you are not good enough are homophobic, racist, sexism, xenophobic, stupid and ignorant lies.

A friend once told me do not let them take away your joy. Life is too short, these people are not worth your time, energy or frustration. These bigots cannot do much to you, spend all your time fighting the institutions and the structures that allow hate and ignorance to have power. After all the world throws at you, you deserve to have peace and joy plus be free to love people and be loved.

Be happy and do what satisfies you and enjoy.

Let the past go, let all the hurt fuel you to do something positive. All those people whose issues hurt you are not even worthy of your pain. You are awesome, don’t let some peverse thinking fool, ever make you doubt that. Happy new year- keep fighting, love hard, have fun and enjoy who you are ! Happy new year and celebrate it well!