We may not have the marches and the picket lines, the flower power or the excess armpit hair, but we have the history and a notion of better days to come.
It’s been a while since I’ve had faith in people as a whole and, for the first time in a long time, I’m starting to believe that this generation, the generation of Millennials, is the first generation since the hippies who will try to bring peace and acceptance back to a society ripped apart by years of hate and bigotry.
For the first time in history, our children will grow up with better views, living in a society in which gay marriage and transgender classmates are nothing but normal.
I have faith because I have love and this love is a product of education. This education has been bred from years of watching the damage our parents and their parents inflicted on our society. An education that comes from the Internet and social media, where we spread stories of heartache, ignorance and devastation, opening our eyes to the trials and tribulations faced by those outcast and misunderstood.
We’ve had our eyes opened, unlike any generation before us, to the horrors of the world, which we will refuse to bring into our new one.
We’ve seen the slow acceptance of communities that should have never been condemned and the continued mistreatment of women outside our own small world. We’ve watched the burning of flags, the demolition of skyscrapers and the loss of thousands in a single act of hate.
We’ve entered wars we don’t agree with and learned disturbing secrets about our government we can’t completely forgive. We’ve witnessed rape culture, the stoning of innocents and the mass killing of children. We’ve been to funerals of the much too young, received more Amber alerts than messages of hope and witnessed more school shootings than pep-rallies.
We’ve seen the damage of guns and the brutality of the drug world. We’ve learned about the effects of bullying and been confronted with suicide rates that are higher than literacy rates. We’ve heard the cries of the condemned and the stories of the oppressed.
We’ve grown up tainted, scathed and hardened, our eyes opened to the travesties of the human condition much too early. But this premature awareness has a silver lining because one cannot be exposed to hate without learning about the power of love and of the necessity for change.
Alongside the travesties of today, we’ve witnessed the good as well. We’ve seen the power of petition, the effectiveness of education and the ability to procure change from a society that seems rooted in ignorance.
We’ve grown up with idols like Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Maya Angelou, Abraham Lincoln, John Lennon, JFK, Harvey Milk, Malala Yousafzai and, of course, the hippies. We’ve seen the power that love holds and the beauty of change. We’ve watched individuals affect entire societies and ideas changed into laws.
We’ve studied civil disobedience and watched entire nations take back their rights. We’ve helped gays get married and ordered marches on the oppressively wealthy. We've created campaigns to change the standard of beauty and demanded justice for millions who've been cheated out of government programs.
Just because we are living in world where children take guns to school does not mean it will always be like this. We will either learn from the devastation of today or ignore it. We can either talk about how irresponsible the gun laws are, or make efforts to stop it.
We can make statuses and tweets about the injustices committed to women and the poor, or we can create laws and demands to stop it. We can turn our backs on the suffering or we can sign petitions to stop it altogether. I have faith that we will take action because we have never been a generation that is good at keeping our mouths shut and leaving our opinions unheard.
Photo via We Heart It