Be The Change You Want to See

By Jenise Jackson
Blog Content Contributor

It’s pretty obvious that we are living in a society plagued by injustice and strife. Different, conflicting opinions fill our dialogue and some of us wonder when or if we will ever see the day when there is a “peaceful, common ground” and equality represents everyone. We want change, but at times it feels so out of reach. But does that mean we stop trying or let alone not try at all? Of course it doesn’t. It’s one thing to speak about making a difference, but will you fight for it? Now, more than ever, is the time to be the change you want to see.

“It’s impossible to change the social without changing the personal. You have to put your money where your mouth is.” – Carrie Mae Weems

I tend to think about how I sometimes take to social media to voice my opinions and anger about certain injustices that happen in the world around me. Sure, people will know my stance on the issues but that only goes so far. There are so many people who never show up to the polls, town hall meetings, protests, etc., but will become “social media activists” and blast about how a difference needs to be made. When your words don’t match your actions, it equates to the acceptance of the way things are. Simply put, no action means no results.

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I took a lot of pride in being able to see some of my fellow peers come together and attempt to combat a social issue on campus. For me, their presence was impactful and inspiring. It was like a push to keep fighting for what is right, no matter the obstacles that stand in the way. Photo by Jenise Jackson.

It all starts with you. Being passionate about something is great, but do you have the ambition to match? There are far too many people calling for a change to be made without actively working towards seeing that change. Think of it like learning a new skill. You can’t master a skill without first taking the initiative to practice it. You will never get better at that skill because you never took the time to actually try to get better. It’s the same concept with combating our societal issues. You can’t just sit around and hope that one day everything will magically improve. And we can’t point fingers and expect other people to make a difference when we don’t even attempt to do it ourselves. If that was the case, we would still be living in times a lot harder to imagine. I encourage you to use your voice, your art or whatever else you possess to help ignite a positive uprising.

Most of us wonder what we can do to jumpstart making a change and it can take place locally. Let me provide some examples. Is there a peaceful protest that promotes a positive message that you believe in? Go ahead and join in. Are there open forums that let you express your concerns with your government and representatives? Well, don’t be ashamed to use your voice to speak out. Creatives have a way of using their talents to spark conversations or movements with their work as well. Maybe you are your community’s Faith Ringgold, Jordan Peele, Allen Ginsberg, etc., using your work to make powerful statements and inspire others to think about your message. A lot of the things you can do make more of an impact than you may believe, you just have to put your best foot forward.

We all know that sitting and waiting for something to happen is usually a lost cause. We are all here to contribute in some way to this world. Stop saying that the little things you can do won’t matter. There are so many other people just like you and when you put together the little things that all of you can do it could turn into making a big difference. I’ll end off with this. Do you want to be known as a person who “watches” things happen or a person who “makes” things happen? If you choose the former, you’ll end up also being a person who “wonders” about what could have happened.

Featured image by Jenise Jackson.

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