By Hannah Jones
We live in a world where you can get shot by a man on the way home from the corner store and he gets off scotch free. We live in a world where you can get shot while reaching into your pocket for a comb. We live in a country where you can get shot for walking around in your own home at night in the dark. And yet when anyone tries anything to stop these horrific events from happening and change things they are seen as disturbing the peace and are accused of bring up things that don’t hold a torch to the other issues that our country is facing. But is there really ever a good time for change. No there isn’t.
From the time we are little, we are fed double standards. As children, we watch tv shows about villains trying to change the way things are and are stopped in their tracks. This teaches us that change is a bad thing that needs to be stopped. The heroes are the people that keep change from happening and when ever these so called “villains” succeed and actually change something, the heroes put it right back to the way things were before. Why is change always dressed in extravagant clothing and played by the most evil of characters? Why can’t heroes bring change? We grow up with the mentality that change is a scary thing, that change should be resisted until it is here and then we should accept it. In history, we learn that the people who brought about change really helped the world grow and helped mankind become better citizens of the world. We are taught that Martin Luther King Jr. fought for equality in a nation where black people were free but not yet equal. We are taught that the suffragist fought for their right to vote in a country where they were expected to follow the rules. But if we look deeper, we can see that these historical figures were told that it was not the right time for them to fight for change. In his letter from the Birmingham jail Martin Luther King wrote, “Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity.” When the women’s rights movement came out, the United States were on the verge of fighting World War 2. The women were told that they were bigger and better problems to be solved than the fact that they couldn’t vote. So when is the right time to fight for change? Never. There is never a perfect time for change to come.
Had any of these historical heroes waited for the right time to stand up for what they believed in, we would all still be waiting. It is never a good time or a good place to fight for rights and freedoms. When Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem, he was told that football was not the right platform in which to state his beliefs. Where is he supposed to fight for his people, in his house at night with the lights off so he doesn’t offend anyone? Change cannot happen without someone getting their feelings hurt. As humans, we will never ever all agree on the same things at the same time. It is just not going to happen. In 2016, there were 7.442 billion people living on this lovely planet we call Earth. That means that there were 7.442 billion different sets of morals, 7.442 billion different sets of beliefs, 7.442 billion upbrings, 7.442 billion different opinions and 7.442 billion different reasons why now is not the right time to get something done. And with these 7.442 billion different people we can do one of two things. We can try to make everyone act the same, dress the same, look the same, and have the same opinion on everything. Or we can embrace these differences and use these opinions to better our world for future generations. That is what humans were meant to be, different. If you walk into a ninth grade science classroom you can see exactly why we are all different. We were genetically made to be different. I am from a family with four children, and even though we have grown up in the same house, with the same parents and the same exposure to the world we are vastly different people. We often kid that my brother and I are duplicates of each other because we look almost the same, but even we are completely different. I am passionate about music, writing, nature and I am fascinated by traveling the world. My brother on the other hand loves to play in the dirt, figure out how things work, loves math, physics and his only really motivation in life is to make things out of nothing. If people coming from the same background can have such vastly different motivations in life, it is no wonder that we can’t all come together on anything. And that’s okay. That is what makes us human, our differences. I will not always agree with what the person next to me has to say but it is my job, as a citizen of this earth, to let them state their option.
I am a christian; I believe that there is a God and that Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose again on the third day. I also believe that anyone who does not agree has the right to live alongside me as a fellow human being. I believe that it is their right to believe whatever they want even if I am nowhere close to agreeing with them because it is our opinions that make the world so vastly beautiful.
I am a half black, half white; so for me, most of the arguments in this country split me right in half. I get to see both side of every argument. On one side I hear that Black Lives do matter and the fact that it doesn’t make sense to stand up for a song that never has and never will represent anything about me. The Star Spangled Banner was not written for Black people, or women or anyone else besides the White male. Why should I stand for a song that was never meant for a person like me to feel proud of? On the other side, I see the fact that by kneeling for the nation anthem I could be disrespecting all of the men and women who have fought for this country, died for this country. I understand that by kneeling for the national anthem we are hurting the feelings of millions of Americans that feel so passionately that the National Anthem should bring us together. I understand that being a proud American can be apart of both cultures regardless of race. But I also know, that at the end of the day it is my decision, my choice, my right to have my own opinion on these topics regardless of my ethnicity and background. Because at the end of the day, the people who fought, and died for this country, fought and died for my right to have my own opinion. They fought and died so that when people see injustices in their community they can say something about. They fought and died so that someone like me, a high school student, could tell the world what I believe without fear of the government taking away my right of free speech.
At the end of the day, with all these opinions there is never a good time to make change happen. It is never a good time for you to have your opinion heard. It will never be a good time to get anything done. But the best time to get anything done is now. Yesterday is gone, it is no longer a good time. Tomorrow is not a good time either because tomorrow it might be too late. Now is the only time to get anything done. There is nothing like the present.
To the people who think that by writing about this topic I am doing nothing to change the actual problems in our world, I respect that. But I also know that I am a high school student, and that at this point in my life, this is my platform for changing the world. I might not be able to make a huge change in the world at this point it time. But I do know one thing. By writing an article like this, I am starting a conversation. I am getting the ball rolling so that maybe, just maybe someone with more power than me might be able to keep that ball rolling. I know that you might not think it is the right time for me to try to do something like this. And to that I say, when is it?