“One person can’t change the world”
This phrase makes me angry.
This phrase breaks my heart.
This phrase is of ignorance.
This phrase is… FALSE.
For so long I have been a very vocal person when it comes to my beliefs and values, and the one reason is because I can be, but the main reason, to put it simply, is because everything I believe, every move I make, every principle that I uphold has a simple but bold, morally righteous foundation. And because of where I am from, and the type of people that I find myself coming into contact with on a day to day basis, having my beliefs and my values has not always been easy.
For the longest time, anytime I retweeted something that advocated BlackLivesMatter or shared a post on Facebook that expressed my belief in One Love, it was like I was coming out of the closet all over again. I would tap the button on my screen and wait. I’d wait for the hateful comments. I’d imagine my relatives tucked away in the Alabama countryside sitting behind a computer that somehow still managed to operate on Windows XP. I could see the judgement that was painted on their faces when my post would pop up on their timelines. And the culmination of all of this took a serious toll on me, as I have always been family oriented and cared about how I was viewed in the eyes of my family.
It got to the point that some nights I would lay in my bed and cry myself to sleep at night because it felt like I was the only person I knew who cared. I was the only person who had a heart. So, I did what any normal person would do and took the problem to a really good friend and got some feedback.
I remember sitting in the car in front of their house for hours, crying my eyes out about how all I wanted to see was a change in the world, a love for everyone, and a vanquishing of hate from as many hearts as possible. And when I finally gathered myself to receive some sort of response, I got:
“I don’t know why you’re crying, because one person can’t change the world.”
I could feel my body temperature increasing. I could feel my hands start to shake. Someone that I had believed in for so long finally proved that they did not believe in me. And I was furious. I demanded that they get out of my car and I sped away angrily. And I stayed angry for a very long time. But it did nothing more than push me. It pushed me to be vocal. It pushed me to be true. It pushed me to stand up. It pushed me to be progressive. It pushed me to never be complacent. But more importantly, it pushed me to be sympathetic.
My heart breaks for the people whose parents didn’t believe in them enough to encourage them that they could be anything.
My heart breaks for the people whose hearts have been tainted with hate.
My heart breaks for the lost souls who are wandering aimlessly in the hopes of finding their way.
And I pledge to be the one man, part of an army of millions that does what is necessary to shed a light that guides them home.
One man can make all of the difference. One man can change the world. So long as he is never complacent.