This I Believe

Andrew - Austin, Texas
Entered on November 30, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

With each new day, it seems that we learn of new social injustices, whether it’s on a local, national, or global level. Discrimination is still prevalent in most every country, and religious persecution is just as common now as it ever has been. Many people see these things happening around us and feel as if there is nothing they can do. I understand where those feelings come from. After all, these problems have plagued society forever. Why should we think that we can put them to rest all of a sudden? While most people concede to this argument, I cannot. Instead, I see the chaos that is taking place in the world today and feel inspired, because I believe that within all of us, there is the power to change the world.

I haven’t always felt this way though. I come from a small Texas town where football and church are the only two priorities. If you don’t like football, you’re sure to be treated differently. If you have different religious views, well, you might as well not bother moving there. Luckily, I was raised well enough that I began to recognize the problems like these that affected our town. As I progressed through middle school and into high school, I would ask my mom about these things. However, she couldn’t seem to provide the answers I was looking for; all she could manage to tell me was “This is the way things are around here. Once people start to think a certain way, it isn’t easy to stop them.”

Time passed, and I grew older, continuing to question my surroundings. However, I never really realized that these issues were so widespread outside of our little town. It wasn’t until I joined the high school debate team that I was able to work from an unbiased perspective to investigate the many problems that face society. I had never fully realized how many issues my generation would have to deal with, nor had I known how much work had been invested to make society what it is today. The more research I did, the more I learned that a peaceful existence is not an easy thing to maintain – everybody has problems.

Now I am in college, determined to make a difference. I don’t know much about what career or major I want to pursue, but I do know this: all it takes is one spark to start a fire. Whether we study the civil rights movement in the U.S. or the end of apartheid in South Africa, history shows that all it took to start these movements was one person willing to defend his beliefs. If they can make a difference, so can I, because every single person has the power to change the world. This I believe.