20 3 / 2012
Young people changing the world.
Thoughts for young people from the author of Visible Children.
Since this all started two weeks ago, I’ve occasionally been criticized for the attention my blog has received on the basis that, as a university student, my opinion shouldn’t be as widely-read as it has been. I guess the logic is that because I’m a “young person”, my opinion is less valuable, or “misinformed and naive”, as Invisible Children’s PR firm eloquently described it.
Actually, the best and most thought-provoking questions I’ve received came from “young people” in a series of discussions I had over Skype with students in Pennsylvania. “What are you actually doing to help?”, they asked. “What changes would you have made to the movie?” “Would it be better if the movie never existed?” What I saw was a group of young people excited about making a difference. If Kony 2012 is an ad, it’s selling the feeling that you can change the world. Everybody wants to change the world, and young people most of all.
The message Invisible Children is sending is that anybody can change the world, and it’s easy. Watch the movie, share it with your friends, tweet at some famous people, and if you get really excited, put up some posters. I’d like to change their message slightly, although mine isn’t as catchy:
Anybody can change the world, but it’s difficult. And you should do it anyway.
Doing what Invisible Children wants may have an impact, but real, thoughtful activism – actual world-changing – is difficult. It takes significant motivation and concentrated effort. It takes research and organization and planning and discussion, and it’s not easy. But very little that’s worth doing is easy. Anybody can change the world, but it’s difficult. And you should do it anyway.
~ Grant Oyston
Grant Oyston is a sociology and political science student at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and is the the National Communications Chair of CISV, a nonprofit that hosts international friendship-building programs in over 60 countries for people as young as 11.
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