BACKGROUND Everywhere we look we have seen clashes and polarizing figures which lead to more and more of us taking sides….. taking sides against each other and categorically “writing the other off”. This is leading us further into conflict and away from what unites us; from what makes a strong nation of individual freedoms working as one. This is true in our reality TV shows, in our sporting entertainment, and most notably in our politics and governing bodies. Our entire culture is setting us up to compete and to “Win” but at what costs? And what exactly do we win? We hear the words “reach across the aisle”, but what does that look like? We keep hearing how people leave social media because it becomes too ugly, too mean. We know from experience that often talking to family members brings hard feelings and old insults fresh to the surface. We at Carroll CAN are looking to make positive differences in the actions we take, and in what we do and say. And we too often feel stuck. How do we talk to or with the ‘other’? How do we support people of color? Immigrants? Veterans? The aged? The poor? The sick? And what does that look like?
Leadership and lessons can come from surprising places. We are all accustomed to listening to our elders for advice, for perspectives we may not yet have experienced. But sometimes, we need a different wisdom that comes from the trenches. We need a fresh voice of youth to remind us of what that looks and feels like. Someone to take us back for the “redo” that we otherwise can never have. As the saying goes…..”Out of the mouth of babes, comes wisdom”. You may have heard of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani Woman who was shot, and who stood up in spite of this, for her right to education. Now, meet Ziad Ahmed, the American student who said NO more to bullying, No to intimidation. He is the young man who created a movement in his school at the age of 14, called Redefy, to give voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless. Use this call to action to educate and inspire yourself to new, different ideas.
Quote: “Critical thinking requires critical listening”.——— Jas Waters, January 2018
TO DO NOW
- Watch this 18 minute TEDx Teen Talk. Listen and take notes. Then watch it again: “In an effort to dismantle "us vs. them," I talked to 237 people. Thrilled to share my @TEDxTeen talk about just that.”——— Ziad Ahmed. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=s3F58mk7IPc
2). Share this video with your teenagers and pre-teens. It just may inspire them to tackle their issues at school, in head-on positive ways. Talk about ways they can talk to others and listen responsibly.
3). Read and watch some of the other resource materials below to help you gear up to tackle 2018’s issues in the year ahead.
Waking Up in Trump’s America, November 9, 2017
Today I'm Brave
Ziad the Activist