No System Can Stop Me

This is a scholarship essay in response to the prompt “How will you create generational change in your community?” Out of over 700 entries I was awarded with second place.

No System Can Stop Me

3678 Fuller Ave. NE, 49525 Grand Rapids, MI                                                Carson McCready

(616)401-6303                                                                                        Northview High School

Twelfth grade

November 8, 2016

Like the angelic activist, Rosa Parks, I am an ordinary woman. Living in the conservative state of Michigan, I stand for the justice and equality of my people. I am a small fish in a big pond just like everyone else. However, I swim against the current with members of my generation to promote change in the world, despite our pond’s political pollution. The strength behind our collective yet nonconforming group has clear impenetrable power and zeal. There will always be something to keep us going. Uniquely to myself, there is something in my soul that anchors me to never stop promoting change, even when the system of government voices their well-intended plans to squash the voice out of my windpipe. But my voice will never be silenced. And because of this, I will forever promote change within my community and with the help of fellow activists; until my last breath. I will do this by refusing to be silenced and involving myself in the politics under which I am governed.

It is Paul McCartney who earns the credit for the quote “Think globally, act locally.” What this means to me is that our thoughts should not stay in our comforting bubble of ignorance. There is an entire world outside our home, town, state, and country. It is unacceptable to stay silent about the oil spill in Peru or the women of Saudi Arabia not allowed to drive a car. Our silence takes the side of the oppressor. However, no single act fixes a global problem like pollution or gender rights. What does fix situations are local acts of correction. By using our voice, we can inform. We are the technological generation and we must utilize that. We can tell our peers about the injustices of the world, leading to a more awake youth. By using our voice, we vote. Our youth will vote on these injustices and in that way, we will promote change. By using our voice, we advocate. Our eyes now open, our votes now counting, we have promoted change. Even our losses make us stronger in that they inspire us to work harder as soon as the chance occurs.

Though I am seventeen years old and therefore unable to vote, the way I partake in the discussion of government is by being captain of my school’s debate team. As an affirmative team member, my partner and I devise a plan to somehow create change in the world through foreign policy. These plans are supported by credible evidence, most often having a heavy advantage of Human Rights. No matter the topic, our plan is always careful to increase happy relations between sovereign states and avoid any type of conflict whatsoever. This includes war. These past four years of being involved in the debate team with my amazing coaches and peers have encouraged me to pursue politics as a career in my adulthood. There is something special and fulfilling about making the world a better, more friendly place.

Being an activist is not a cake walk. We do not float through the lives of the oppressed, granting wishes like righteous fairies. Activists – at least those as dedicated as I – will reach the ends of the Earth to find justice. We do not always win and our failures may bruise us. But the feelings that we fall asleep with of fear and resentment towards a stubbornly unchanging world are always metamorphosed into feelings of motivation and determination, our bruises magically healed. I believe Rosa Parks felt similarly based on her honest words “The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” There is a spark within us. It only takes so long until we are struck as matches on the rough surface of life as an oppressed group. Every bag of sleep sand our oppressors throw in our face is a splash of icy water down our neck. No system of oppression perpetuated by society can stop me. I will not choke on sand; I welcome the icy water.

My resilience is like that of the non-profit organization, Planned Parenthood, where I volunteer every other Thursday. This is my favorite way of being active in my community to promote change. Planned Parenthood was founded October 16, 1916 by Margaret Sanger and we celebrate our one-hundred-year anniversary here in 2016. There have been many occasions when the system of government has expressed discrimination against this organization, and therefore discrimination against women’s rights. But because of the support of our loyal donators, nothing has ever stopped us from providing safe and affordable health care. No system can stop Planned Parenthood, and no system can stop me. I stand with Planned Parenthood because it stands with me. My support will be unwavering, my voice never crumbling. As soon as I met with Julie, the communications manager for the organization, I knew non-profit was a place I belonged by her enthusiasm for her cause. She is the messenger who spreads information. She is the voice for an organization she stands for. The mere idea of filling those footsteps is exhilarating.

When I express my commitment to activism to my peers and those older than me, I am often presented with the question “Well what do you advocate for?” My activism is inclusive to all socioeconomic and environmental issues. Only with inclusion can equality and fairness be achieved.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. informed us that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” A government that is xenophobically racist and misogynistically sexist spreads its evil through foreign and domestic policy.

Ever since I learned to speak, I had something to say. My voice has never – and will never – be silenced. For my voice to be heard I will continue my work at Planned Parenthood and advocate on social media, as is my responsibility as a youth. My work as a debater will continue and my determination will lead me to a position in politics. My promotion of change may be small in my youth, but my impact will be large. No system can stop me.