The student newspaper of Nicholls State University

It only takes one person to do what is right

January 19, 2017

Thousands of people marched on the streets all over the country to celebrate Martin Luther King Day on Monday fuelling our hearts with a breath of fresh air as the new year debuts.

King’s message of equality and justice that prompted significant changes in America’s civil rights is still tremendously relevant nowadays. In a country currently divided by divergent political opinions that peaked during the 2016 election campaigns, it may be a time of uncertainty for many. Thankfully, we have empowering messages, such as King’s, to serve as a hopeful reminder of America’s true potential.

Unfortunately, such troubled times aren’t exclusive to our country. A lot has happened in the world in 2016 in the political, economical and humanitarian helms as well. The Aleppo massacre, the refugee crisis in Europe, Britain’s Brexit, the Philippines war on drugs, anti-gay protests that followed the Orlando night club shooting and economy recession all over the globe were just a few examples of the wave of bad things that marked 2016.

Last year was also the year when the world lost a lot of influential figures, from musicians to dictators, but most importantly, prominent figures of resistance and opposition movements throughout the past decades. The list includes George Michael, Prince and David Bowie, symbols in the fight for the LGBT rights. Muhammad Ali, who became an example in the fight against racism, and several other artists and musicians whose art is an invaluable contribution to the world were taken from us abruptly.

While it is unfortunate, their passing should be a reminder that it only takes one person’s initiative to make the difference in the world. Ali, King, Michael, Prince and many others’ lives are an inspiration. They showed us that it is possible to fight oppression. Their stories are not only examples of the fight for rights and the challenge of the status quo, but also to prove that it is worth the fight for justice and equality despite all the adversities.

It is important that we make sure the new generations know about the contributions of each of them to the history, besides their musical, artistic or sportive legacy. We need to let their stories inspire us to be a better person and do more to change things we don’t agree with.

Despite the feeling that 2016 could have been one of the worst years in modern history, last year was also a proof of the power of average people getting together for the sake of any cause. Let’s not forget how more than 50 million trees were planted in less than 24 hours in India, how the ice bucket challenged raised enough money to sponsor a breakthrough in ALS research or how people dressed as angels blocked anti-gay protests during the Pulse nightclub victim’s funerals.

It doesn’t take much to do what is right.  So, we take the liberty to quote King and say that, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,” to urge our generation to unite and fight for what is right.

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