Take Action: Special Online Feature
“How Should I Choose My Commitments to Causes?” It is impossible for any one person to commit to taking action on every meaningful issue. ’DEIS Impact alone features many social justice related events in a week. So how does an interested individual decide where, whom and how to help? Leah Igdalsky ’14 considers this question in a special “Ethical Inquiry”.
Too Comfortable to Care?
In a June 2015 interview with Jon Stewart, actor and comedian Nick Offerman stated, “We’re so comfortable these days, we can say, ‘well maybe I should just binge-watch all these great entertainment shows for the rest of my life,’ and that’s a choice we can make and get away with.”
Complacency and comfort may be an option for some, but if you are attending this festival of social justice, perhaps you have made the decision instead to act.
The same year, also being interviewed by Jon Stewart, Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest person ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, said, “Sometimes we wait for others, and think that Martin Luther [King, Jr.] should rise among us, and Nelson Mandela should rise among us and speak up for us. But we never realize that they are normal humans like us, and if we step forward, we can also bring change, just like them.”
We tend to wait for such figures. We could easily wait forever, instead of making our own contributions. But there is not always a Mandela or a Malala to fix things. And even they did not act alone.
As an individual, it can be a daunting task to identify what channels to go through to address injustice and achieve change. This task may become frustrating when individuals and organizations in power remain gridlocked, and patterns of systemic violence and injustice repeat themselves time and time again. But historically, change at the level of policy, law and culture has originated in movements of impassioned groups of people.
During this festival you will meet people who may refresh your drive and commitment to getting the work done, people dedicated to making an impact. We too can make the decision to not sit idly by, watching endless TV shows on Netflix. We too can decide together not to be apathetic or defeated. We too can decide to move forward and to act.