Words We Heard: ‘It's your world, and you can change it.’
February happens to be an important month, and not because of Valentine’s Day. It’s Black History Month. It’s a month where we look back at history and celebrate how far we’ve come. And while the history isn’t always bright, the future is. Why? Because we are all forces to be reckoned with. We are powerful. We are badass. Throughout history, people have fought for their rights and stood up for their beliefs, as we all should – no matter your background, gender, ethnicity, etc. We should all want to stand up for what we believe in. We all have a voice. Why wouldn’t we use it?
As someone who just recently found my own voice, I understand what it’s like to be afraid. I wasn’t necessarily afraid to use my voice to stand up for what I believed in. I just didn’t know exactly what I wanted to use my voice for. And as a woman, I have experienced the degrading comments, the lack of faith in my work ethic, and many other frustrating things. Just because I am a female doesn’t mean I am any less of a person. Just because our skin color is different doesn’t mean one of us is more human than the other. We are all human. We all deserve respect and basic human rights. Nothing changes that.
So, no matter your gender, size, shape, race, find your voice. Make it heard. Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t let anyone else’s opinion make you feel any less deserving of this. You might be the one to make the change you’ve been waiting to see.
As everyone’s favorite jamming man, Bob Marley, said, “Get up. Stand up. Stand up for your rights.”
- “Women are strong. Women can do anything. Come out and struggle for your rights; nothing can happen without your voice. Do not wait for me to do something for your rights. It's your world, and you can change it." –Malala Yousafzai in an interview with Glamour
- “Speaking the truth means you must speak up and you must speak out, even when you’re not being asked, and even when it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient.” –Senator Kamala Harris in her commencement address to Howard University
- “We are also daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, and human beings. We come in peace, but we mean business. And to those who would dare try and silence us, we say ‘Time’s up.’ … Just as we have the power to shake culture, we have the power to undo the culture that does not serve us well.” –Janelle Monae at the Grammys
- “My opinion is: You can have millions of dollars and a dream career, but if you’re not willing to stand up for what you believe, or if you see wrongdoing and don’t talk about it, then you have nothing. It’s the opposite of ‘Shut up and act!’ If you have a voice, use it.” – Jennifer Lawrence in an interview with Vogue
- “Because I am black and gay, when I walk through that studio door, there are still white men on the other side, but they are confused. I use that confusion to start pitching so fast they latch onto the ideas before they can figure out what box to put me in.” –Director Angela Robinson in an interview with Vanity Fair
- “It is through human dedication and effort that we move forward. And that when we don’t work, what happens is that time actually becomes an ally to the primitive forces of social stagnation, and the guardians of the status quo are in their oxygen tanks keeping the old order alive.
“Written on the Statue of Liberty is: ‘Come. Come you tireless, poor, yearning to breathe free.’ To breathe free. Every single day, your job as an American citizen is not just to fight for your rights. It’s to fight for the right of every individual that is taking a breath, whose heart is pumping and breathing on this earth.” –Viola Davis in a speech at the 2018 Women’s March in Los Angeles