The definition of revolution is “a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.” In the last three years of my life alone I have seen huge changes being made by people my age. By changes, I am in no way talking about less homework or more extracurricular activities. By changes, I mean things such as people finally starting to open their eyes to see that there needs to be improvements made all over the world. By changes I mean high school students starting marches and walkouts to make differences with gun laws, protests to fight against a travel ban put in place by America’s president, a young girl standing up in front of politicians to speak about climate change, or even fighting for a teenage girl in Ireland who is no longer able to fight for herself by sharing her story and refusing to remain silent. When I say changes I mean teenagers raising awareness and fighting alongside others around significant issues.
An incredibly wise man named Simon Wiesenthal once said, “I believe in the good in people.” That is what these teenagers are doing when they share their stories and start these protests. They are putting every ounce of hope and effort into believing that adults and other teenagers will care enough to do something. To help. Just by spreading words like “this is not consent” and “never again” we take on these issues and accompany them in the fight. We start something revolutionary so it can be joined and supported by millions of others all over the world. Everybody has a different story to tell so there is a huge possibility that you may not understand what someone is going through, but that does not mean you are not able to offer them your support, love, kindness, and if they lose theirs along the way, your voice.
Something that adults, including politicians, teachers, and other role models can learn from young people is optimism. Me, my friends, and the students all around me have hope. We hope for a future where people are more understanding, educated, and patient. We have hope that someone with a platform, with power, can help us make our voices heard. We have faith in people, faith that people are not completely bad after all.
I believe that nobody is born with hate in their heart. People aren’t born racist, sexist, or homophobic. It is what they are taught and are surrounded by. This hatred, this negativity, is an unpleasant, repulsive, and ignorant mindset of believing that they are better than someone. I was taught to believe that I am not better than anyone and no one is better than me. This is the mindset that we should teach not only children but adults, especially ones that have any type of platform or responsibility.
Young people, whether they are 12 or 19, are beginning to stand up for themselves. When they are told that children should be seen and not heard, they are ignoring it and doing what they know is right. The fact that we are young does not give anyone the right to dismiss us or our opinions. Our voices are just as important as anyone else’s and deserve to be heard. Believing in the good of humanity is not foolish, ignorant, or idiotic. It is hopeful to believe, to have confidence that the future can be better. That hope is what encourages people to work hard. That hope gives us responsibility. That hope creates tireless, persevering students so how dare they tell us to sit back down and not speak up? We are the future doctors, lawyers, teachers, parents, and role models. Why are we not allowed to have a say in how our futures turn out? Why, in the eyes of some adults, are we not educated or experienced enough to be able to voice our own opinions? To take a stand and change the things that need changing? If adults are not going to do it, why can’t we? We are more than capable and ready to help change the world, our world. We can help change perspectives and take action; we just need the opportunities to do it.
So, going back to what Simon Wiesenthal said, I do believe in the good in people. I believe that things can change for the better and people can change their views and become more positive and optimistic. I believe in a more welcoming, diverse, and understanding future where young people and adults can work together. I believe in progress, in love, and in education. I believe that what we have to say and the differences that we can make for this world could be revolutionary. I believe in all of us.