It’s the second Saturday in October. You had set an alarm for 7:30am because you have an essay due on Monday but, on second thought, the essay can wait. You blink and it’s 9am. The sun is still rising over the hill. You peek through your window and see foot traffic starting to pick up on Professors Row. As you walk towards the dining hall for breakfast, you notice the opposing team’s charter bus pull into the traffic loop beside the football field. Giant men in track suits pour off the bus sporting Beats headphones and matching purple Nike backpacks. You walk into the seating area and find the Tufts football team finishing their pregame breakfast.
“Good luck today, guys!”
After two and a half laps around the building, you finally find your friends and sit down to eat. French toast with fresh maple syrup, eggs, ham, a bowl of fresh fruit, and a cup of coffee. Friend number 1 went to bed early last night, friend number 2 went to the Red Sox game, friend number 3 went to a gallery opening on campus, friend number 4 doesn’t remember, and the five of you laugh about it. When you’re done eating, all of you head over to the Crafts Center to start making some signs.
“Do you think they’ll win?”
“I really hope so. They’ve been working so hard.”
While you’re in the Crafts Center, your friend recognizes one of the artists they saw at the gallery opening the night before. The three of you get into a conversation about their creative inspirations and the artist takes some time to show you how to really make the letters pop on your sign. They tell you that they’re a combined degree student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, but they took the shuttle from the Fenway campus this morning so they could make it for the big day. They tell you about some of the classes they’ve gotten to take at art school, and you think you’ll sign up for one next semester.
“You guys ready to head over?”
“Yup, let’s do it”
As you walk up the hill, the chants from the crowd get louder and louder. You can feel the energy and historical weight of the moment. The people at the front of the crowd use megaphones to direct the chants and your heartbeat rises to match their rhythmic pulse. The drummers push the tempo faster while layers and layers of students pile into the designated area. You feed off the energy of the crowd as you lift your sign into the air and join in the chorus.
“What do we want!?”
“A fair contract!!”
“When do we want it?!”
The chanting stops momentarily when your favorite grill-master picks up the megaphone. Through tears, they talk about how much it means that all these students showed up to fight for the dining workers and their families. A tear forms in your eye as well. A student organizer steps up on to a table and thanks everyone for coming to the protest. They tell the story of why they love the Tufts community They say that it’s because they all show up for each other when it matters. They fight for what’s right. They believe in equality and justice. They are actively engaged in the battle to dismantle systems of oppression. They take pride in belonging to the Tufts community, and they want the best for it.
“What else can we do?”
“Make sure you get all your friends to show up!”
Two weeks later, you get an email from the local union representative saying that the dining workers have won a fair contract. You immediately head over to the dining hall to congratulate your grill-master friend. They are ecstatic to see you and choke back tears of joy thanking you for your help in securing the contract. You walk over to the seating area and see the football team at the same tables eating their same pregame meal.
“Good luck today, guys!”