I was born at the turn of the century. We're now in the 22nd year of it.
At 22, fresh out of graduate school, I find myself standing at a dangerous precipice beyond which lies the realm of discouraged adulthood. By discouraged, I mean defeated. Where the burdens of the world seem too much for one person to concern themselves with. Where the spark of youth, that determination and grasp of today's issues that I consider as deeply personal and fundamental to my existence, become subject to the rallying call of "it is what it is". I find myself staring at that degenerate abyss of resigned passivity with terror: is that the inevitable? Or can we hold on to our passions, our rage, our collective concerns about the future till the very end?
In the extension of my metaphor: I want to build a bridge to avoid this abyss of fatalistic surrender.
As a young person of today, the everyday churning of news is a tussle with this abyss. Where Pandora's hope becomes the most important soldier currently standing on our side. For as long as there is hope: hope for an equal future filled with equal opportunities, hope for the end of warfare and nuclear proliferation, hope for a world rid of climate disasters, hope for educational opportunities, hope for better nutrition for all, hope for gender equality, inclusivity, and love – that inkling towards surrender is postponed every time.
For the people currently in the abyss of resignation are in it for a lack of hope. And so I think to myself: Is it true? Is nothing changing? Is the world doomed towards an unpreventable catastrophe, both social and environmental?
Yet, hope requires the flames of action to sustain it.
So when we take to the streets to protest injustice; when we research and listen and educate ourselves on matters of gender and sexuality; when we petition and rally ourselves to march against racial oppression; when we become inconvenient for the lawmakers and the politicians and the naysayers of the world; when we're aware and make others aware of climate change and fall together to raise an alarm to imbibe sustainability and counter wasteful enterprises: this, is that flame of hope. This becomes the bridge over the abyss.
This conviction is important to have as a young person. And for someone older, with years of experience, they must allow for this conviction to bloom.
Let the youth be heard. Help us. March with us. Build with us. Let our futures align historically so that generations can celebrate and admire the courage of the people of the 21st century.
Let hope thrive.
Let hope win.
by Ruth Bader Ginsberg.