My original mission statement is on the Home page of this blog. That was written back in January, and since then I have gone through some interesting changes. Nothing dramatic and crazy has happened, but there have been minor changes to my goals for my education and my future work. Don’t expect anything elaborate, but here it is.
I, Mackenzie Fielder, an undergraduate English major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln believe that education and equality have the highest amount of powers. It is the cure for ignorance and can better society as a whole. Education leads to advancements in all fields. Areas such as history are important because it educates through experiences. Every failure and success is documented so the future can be prosperous. Words and literature keep thoughts moving and entertain the vast expanses of our minds. Literature has driven me to increase my knowledge so that one day, I might be able to share my voice amongst some of the greatest stories to come into the world. The fight for social justice and equality, especially amongst minorities, brings me to a yearning to learn more. Knowledge, determination, and a reason to fight fuel my writing and my desire to be an activist.
I give myself a lot of credit as a writer, who has a passion for history, ethnic studies, and activism, especially for Native Americans. I also can’t pass up a good read, even more so if I can get lost in the pages for hours. Often times, I will read something and then turn around and mold my writing to conform in a similar way, while remaining faithful to my own style. Out of this inventive writing comes fresh thoughts that give my words some important depth.
Despite my desire to be a humanitarian and advocate, my identity as a student has been utterly simple. I thoroughly enjoy my ethnic studies classes, and as a student, I lean towards enrolling in at least one every semester to get my fill. Even though I am one of the quietest students to set foot in most classrooms, I am full of thoughts, critiques, and answers that I keep almost always to myself. Almost always, I save these ideas later for my papers and journal. I escape through writing, it’s my outlet.
Participating in anything outside of my required classes is outside of my comfort zone. Lately, the more I read and research, the more I understand that nothing gets done in the comfort zone. To become an activist, being uncomfortable is required and requires a little more bravery than I can typically muster. Breaking out of this comfort zone of mine is crucial for my future and I believe that I will be able to do so by furthering my education.
Thus far in my journey as an English major in the past two years, I have been pin-balled around by theories, professors, and demanding course work. While these things have discouraged me, I am beginning to find myself in the rubble of it all, picking up pieces to carry on with me as I go. Last semester I read gruesome poetry, and my professor laughed at our horror as we discussed it in class. When she explained to us how line after line had caught our attention and created something outside of the box I began to see the genius of it. As embarrassed as I was by the poem and the poet for that matter, I pushed my writing into darker, creepier, and altogether, weirder places. The finished result of my boundary pushing was an alarming, yet attention-grabbing poem that my professor loved.
Last semester I read gruesome poetry, and my professor laughed at our horror as we discussed it in class. When she explained to us how line after line had caught our attention and created something outside of the box I began to see the genius of it. As embarrassed as I was by the poem and the poet for that matter, I pushed my writing into darker, creepier, and altogether, weirder places. The finished result of my boundary pushing was an alarming, yet attention-grabbing poem that my professor loved.
Native American literature opened a brand new door for me. Never in my wildest dreams did imagine that there was a whole realm of Native authors who were successful as writers and used their literature as activist work as well. Talk about inspiring. I finally began to feel like I had finally found a new path to follow in my writing career, and a whole new array of authors to gush over.
My English major has opened my mind enough to where I feel comfortable pursuing the dreams that I thought were foolish. My English professors my first semester of college scolded me for being unaware of current events and thinking that each text only had one meaning. I read books on water shortages, shitty prison systems, and education in Africa while learning that Ernest Hemingway’s work had to be looked at with a Calvinist viewpoint.
The professors that I had my first semester of college scolded me for being unaware of current events and thinking that each text only had one meaning. I read books on water shortages, shitty prison systems, and education in Africa while learning that Ernest Hemingway’s work had to be looked at with a Calvinist viewpoint. This was a huge change from the sheltered Catholic schooling that I spent years assuming was the only way to think.
Growing up, I read a lot. I found myself scouring the library for authors that I had already read before. People like, Lemony Snicket, Nicholas Sparks, and Thomas Kinkade, sparked my interest heavily and I loved the storylines that they came up with. In college, I am now more motivated by authors like Sherman Alexie, James Baldwin, and Louise Erdrich. These people tackle the issues of race, religion, and equality which has changed my viewpoint on the world and how I perceive others. These authors celebrate differences and strive for social justice, and I would love to be one of those.
I’ve had only a few professors that I have felt any sort of connection with in my short time here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Fran Kaye, Dr. Thom Gannon, and Dr. Regina Werum are included in those few. They don’t accept the whitewashed views of our country and world and are more than happy to dish out the truth. All three could be considered activists, and they have dedicated their lives to teaching their students the knowledge needed to fight for something bigger than themselves. Dr. Werum once told my Sociology of Race and Ethnicity class that she hopes the information she has taught us will encourage us to pick one issue and fight like hell to fix it.
I believe some of my defining strengths are being a great listener, sympathetic, down to earth, and always willing to lend a hand. My mom taught me to nice no matter the circumstance. She proved to me just how rewarding it is to be kind because people just may turn around and do the same. She didn’t allow me to hate anyone, and I grew up trying to have the utmost respect for people while resisting the urge to hold any sort of resentment. Of course, I struggled because I was surrounded by hate. I will always be grateful that my mother raised me in this such way because it has set me in a mentality that lends myself to activist work.
My ultimate dream is to fight against the oppression of Native Americans. I want to create ripples that eventually lead into tsunamis of positive change in indigenous communities. By writing and publishing novels that tell the truth about the past and present Native American genocide, I plan to raise awareness so that people of all ages can read and understand what has and is happening. The United States has always been run by the wealthy, and the government falls into covertly racist ideologies time and time again. It has become apparent to me that my talents are needed to aid the most oppressed racial group of people in the United States.