Learning to make a difference


Rida Zar, Opinion Editor

Growing up, we’re often told how impactful our voices are. That we should be the change we want to see and that anything is possible if we put our minds to it. But realistically, I never believed it to be true.

To enact change, influence of some sort would be necessary, and that was inaccessible to a person of my age.

Regardless, I found myself caring deeply about issues that portrained to women’s rights, civil rights and social justice. As I learned of the heavy impact these issues had on my life — and would continue to have as I grew up — I found myself more passionately dedicated to informing myself about prevalent matters and utilizing that knowledge to take the next steps in my journey of political insight.

This eventually led me to joining to the Junior State of America where I found myself surrounded by individuals with the same devotion I felt, dealing with the same internal debate — how much impact can I really create, and how much do others really care?

The first campaign I was introduced to was “Fight Apathy,” which directly addressed that concern. Joining the state cabinet department who ran these programs — Advocacy — we worked to encourage a sense of leadership and community within the organization members.

With my role as a member of the Executive department this year, I received the privilege to contribute to the way our junior state was run. With this opportunity, my peers and I dedicated the year to increasing participation from students who attended traditionally underprivileged schools, encouraging civil discourse and providing members with the opportunity to join organizations that shared their views.

Regardless of party affiliation, our goal remained to raise an educated and fully informed body. Especially in today’s political climate, this is more important than ever.

As tomorrow’s leaders, it’s our responsibility to take note of the issues prevalent in our society and strive to solve them in order to create the future we want to live in.

It’s not easy. Ignoring the problems that don’t directly affect you is tempting. But by doing so, we hinder the development of our own communities.

All it takes is simple baby steps.

Getting registered to vote, following non-partisan media sources and signing petitions are all easy tasks we can take to ending political apathy. These can develop into volunteering for campaigns and parties you care for or even speaking your piece at protests.

Our participation is critical in getting to the final destination: a society nurtured on the devotion of its people to its progress.

All it takes is a push in the right direction to get you started.