Standing Up For What You Believe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Much has been written about the Susan B. Anthonys, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X's of the world who have achieved greatness and fame while promoting a cause in which they believed. However, there are many others who, although they have achieved less notoriety, have demonstrated the same level of courage. For example, in school, I decided to write an editorial to the school newspaper which called for, and justified, a need for a dress code. In doing so, I knew that the editorial would not sit well with many of my classmates, yet I felt it was important to make my views known. I also knew that there was a scattering of students who agreed with me, but chose not to speak up, for fear that they would be ridiculed by their peers.

As expected, the editorial was not well received. However, the emotional feeling I got afterwards was exhilarating. I felt strong and powerful, like a boulder that despite the forces that oppose it and attempt to drive it backwards, does not succumb, nor yield a single inch. At the same time, I was pleased because students were responding to what they had read; the editorial had made them think. Although my editorial placed me in the limelight for only a week, and not in the history textbooks forever, the emotions of courage and pride that I carried with me from that experience will last me a lifetime.

For every person who speaks out, there are many who just sit quietly and never utter a word. It is sad to think of the many citizens who do not take advantage of the rights guaranteed by our forefathers. In a society that favors individuality and encourages progress, those who do not attempt to exercise their liberties when they witness an injustice, can be considered just as foolish as those who hinder others from pursuing advancement and change.

Courage, desire, self motivation, and confidence are all characteristics of those who press for change when they witness social injustice, or feel that a transformation of the attitudes of their peers is required. For these people, society should have the utmost respect. Not only do they help themselves, but often they help others who do not possess the courage or ability to voice their opinions; to stand up and be counted. In the future, it should be the hope of all that more people stop following the masses and instead, begin to become leaders. People must rise above the crowds in order to stand up and justify what they believe. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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