At Proof, editors and photographers from the vaunted magazine share behind-the-scenes stories about their adventures and reflect on the art of visual storytelling.
Think back to when you were young, and you tried skimming a stone across a glassy pond. You were delighted to make the rock bounce more than twice across the surface of the water. With one flick of the wrist, that little stone could create many ripples on the large expanse of water. Likewise, our minute but helpful actions in society can force change, create debate, and transform communities. Yet, all too often we are discouraged, apathetic, or believe the lie that we can achieve little on our own (me included). If, like me, you want to leave the world in a better place, you need to move with conviction and as Gandhi said ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world’. Sometimes all we need is a bit of encouragement and motivation to get us moving.
Here are three inspirational examples of seemingly small acts by normal people that had huge repercussions. Encourage someone today, you could change their life.
Malala Yousafzai – Defied Taliban thugs who tried to assassinate her for advocating girls rights in Pakistan. Malala showed the true power of free speech, with her blogging campaign for her fellow girl’s rights to an equal education. In 2012 the Taliban shot her in the head, wounding her but failing to kill her as intended. She recovered, thankfully, and the worldwide and local publicity that followed brought pressure on the Pakistani government, who sealed the first legislation to allow everyone a free education. Malala subsequently won the Nobel Prize for peace and continues to campaign for the welfare of girls around the world. Check out malala.org
Rosa Parks – Her act of rebellion in not giving up her bus seat to a white passenger during the days of segregation in 1955 in the United States, gave rise to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which had a galvanizing effect on the American Civil Rights movement. Her campaign gave powerful impetus to the move for full integration and acceptance of African-Americans in USA. Rosa received national recognition for her fight, accepting both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal in her time.
Tank Man – The courageous, unknown young man who famously halted an entire column of army tanks in Tiananman Square, Beijing, by simply standing in front of the lead tank. The incident happened the morning after June 4, 1989 when the Chinese government harshly cracked down on student protests in the square. The image of the lone man in front of the tanks has become an iconic picture of what an individual can do when he or she is determined.
So start today, take a small step, and disrupt the status quo. Future generations could thank you for it.