Malala Yousafzai’s influence spreads beyond education


I’ve gotten into multiple arguments as I present my support for equality. Arguments about why I’m a feminist, how I could support teacher unions, why I even care about bigotry and homelessness, and anything else under the sun. And sometimes these arguments, these protests, discourage me.  I was told once that “at some point, you’ll get out of politics…or go crazy.” And it’s so incredibly hard not to take that to heart and just give up.

But then I see how others respond to adversary and I know that I can’t.

If you haven’t heard of Malala Yousafzai, you may have been living under a rock. Or busy. I hear that happens, even when the government is shut down and 800k people are furloughed and not receiving pay.

But if you haven’t heard of her, then you really should. Allow me to enlighten you (or remind those of you who have).

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani teenager known for her activism. Her activism largely deals with fighting for girls’ rights to an education.

Her activism is why the Taliban shot her twice in 2012. The Taliban attempted to assassinate a 15 year old who just wants education for everyone.

Malala, even with the threat of more attacks and her own death, continues to fight for the over 57 million children who cannot attend school.

You know what she’s done since? Well, other than write a book about being shot for her beliefs? Other than leave Jon Stewart speechless on the Daily Show? Other than win the Sakharov prize for freedom of thought? Other than win the European Human Rights prize? Other than get nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize (the youngest person ever nominated)?

What, isn’t that enough?

She doesn’t think so and determination like that is something that should not only be rewarded, but emulated. This young woman gives me courage to continue helping as much as I can. This activist gives me the determination to keep working even when I’m run ragged by opposition. Because when it comes down to it, no amount of protest I’ve received can compare to what she has overcome to give girls an education.

So I won’t stop. I won’t stop talking about what I believe in and supporting those that believe in the same message of equality. Because when it comes down to it, the opposition to these ideas is loud and angry—but that doesn’t make them right…and they won’t make me give up, when a bullet hasn’t silenced a woman like Malala.

So how about you? How do you respond to the strength of Malala? How will you respond to the adversary you receive?


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