Nigerian girls missing, Ebola ravaging West African countries, ISIS terrorizing innocent civilians, Bubonic plague spreading throughout Madagascar, and hundreds of thousands of people losing the battle against social justice every. single. day. There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and I oftentimes feel angry, sad, confused, powerless, and just plain tired. Tired of the fighting. Tired of the hatred. Tired of the pain. Tired of the judgment. Tired of it all. When will it end? When will love finally drive out hate? When will darkness give way to light? When will we know justice and peace? When will we be the change we want to see in the world?
The thing is, it’s easy to sit back and be complacent about what’s going on in the world, especially when it’s so foreign to you. It’s easy to forget about what other people (besides yourself and those in your friend group) are experiencing because you don’t know them. Being indifferent, unaware, and unfazed is easy. Don’t take the easy route–take the bumpy route, the route filled with adversity and struggle: stand up, speak out, and make a positive difference in your own life and in the lives of others. How?
Be aware. Be aware of the world and of yourself. Yes, watch the news and read the newspapers, but also acknowledge and reflect on your own biases, prejudices, and privileges. Being self-aware could be painful, but it’s worth it!
Be vocal. Find your passion, find your cause, and find your voice. Don’t be afraid to have difficult conversations with yourself, your loved ones, and complete strangers, and remember to also be a good listener!
Be active. Don’t just talk about it, be about it. Let your actions speak louder than your words.
Be optimistic and realistic. Being a change agent is difficult. There will be tough times and moments where change feels impossible. Don’t give way to doubt. Believe in yourself. Believe in the movement.
In all of this, one thing to remember is that the bumpy road isn’t easy. In fact, you’ll have to make tough calls, likely identify ugly truths, and may even lose some friends in the process, but the reality is that inequality, inequity, and injustice will only persist if we allow it. Don’t. There have been enough Michael Browns, Shipra Ghoshes, Trayvon Martins, Nadia Ezaldeins, Oscar Grants, Marissa Alexanders, Matthew Shepards, Jessica Colotls, Jennifer Laudes, and Malala Yousafzaies.
Aren’t you tired of waiting for Superman to swoop down and save us? Stop wasting your time and rise up for we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. When will change occur and justice prevail? The time is now!