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The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

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Students need to inspire change

Students+need+to+inspire+change

When I was younger, I would listen intently to my parents discussing politics and the news. I did not understand much of what they were saying, but I can recount the solemn expressions on their faces. On television, I would see the recurring tragedies and hear of the injustices spreading through our world like a virus. I felt helpless, believing that I was in a position where I could only watch and grieve for the subject of these foreign conversations.

Even as a young child, I felt discouraged and lost. I was lost because I had given up on my generation and the hope that I could change what I deemed needed to be changed. A mindset had been fixed into our society where people of my generation were believed to be ignorant and oblivious about the world around them, and the catastrophes our civilization is facing. However, in recent years I have come to understand that I was wrong about my ability to make change. I was inspired by my friends and other children around the world to stand up against this prejudice and fight using my voice for the change of our world. Now, I firmly believe that regardless of one’s age, change in today’s society can be made on all terms.

Change in any platform requires persistence, determination and passion. These are qualities that are not obtained at a certain age, and they live inside people of all generations. There are currently endless amounts of programs that are designed for youth to inspire and raise changemakers. One program, Model United Nations (MUN), is an organization that simulates the work of the United Nations (UN) but for youth. The work of the UN is often deemed impossible for our generation to accomplish. We can feel like we need to be quiet, to sit down and listen. We are told that we do not know enough about politics, or the way that different governments work. However, through MUN, I feel encouraged to continue to fight for my opinions and my will to make a change in our world. MUN provides an opportunity to break the stereotypes that ageism subjects our generation to. I believe it is crucial for our elders to understand that we, too, want to collaborate in efforts to change our world.

Additionally, youth inspire one another. When one voice speaks, millions will follow and walk alongside them. Many youth activists have led their generation towards what they believe is right. Malala Yousafzai, Marley Dias and David Hogg are three of many examples where activism and change has been present in adolescence. Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist working for the education of women and children in her home village. She was the youngest person to be awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of only 17. Marley Dias is a 13–year–old American activist and feminist. She released a book, “Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!” which talked about her 1000 Black Girl Books movement, where she tries to find 1000 books whose principal character is a black woman.

David Hogg is an 18–year–old activist whose purpose was to fight for gun control. He has led the “Never Again MSD” organization along with other students, and has inspired many others to follow. These three activists have shown young people that they too have the ability to create a difference if they speak up for what they believe in. When we speak, we impact the way others think. We have made the news and television shows, speaking to thousands of viewers about our opinions. Although it can be argued that the younger generation cannot make solid change due to the age constraints, our voices are enough to shape the opinions around us. Little change is better than none at all, and if this is simply in the form of shifting one person’s opinion about something, movement has been made in the efforts to fight for the change our generation wishes to see.

When younger members of societies participate in social activism, they bring in a new perspective to be considered. The mindset is different, and often has a different outlook on life. Therefore, when we discuss politics, or ideas we have to make a change, we have new ideas, new ways of thinking about the problem, and a new opinion that should be valued and taken seriously. It is our responsibility as the future generation to stand up for our voices and opinions. The question of whether one can make change does not depend on their age or their experience, rather the amount of will they possess to work toward what they want to achieve. I would encourage all those who have identified something that needs changing in our societies to act, regardless if they are 7 or 75.

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About the Contributor
Lea George, Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Print
Lea George (’21) is the Deputy Editor in Chief: Print of The Standard. She has been a staff writer, a News Editor: Print, the Lead Features Editor, and now DEIC: Print throughout her four years on The Standard. She uses journalism as a platform to report the truth, as well as giving a voice to those who cannot express themselves through her writing. 

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