My family history has influenced me by giving me knowledge and freedom to do with as i wish. Values are something i feel strongly about. I grew up with parents who never failed to make it clear that racism and discrimination were unacceptable. Now that i am 17 years old, i look back and remember exactly when this feeling began to grow. As a granddaughter to a Holocaust survivor, i got the stories first hand. I got to live these horrific event through the anecdotes my grandfather told me.
"First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak out because I was Protestant. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me." Martin Niemöller. I remember coming across this quote one day and reflecting on how horrible it is that these events happened, but even more disappointing to me was the fact that no one spoke out. This quote is one that affected me tremendously and left me extremely curious.
For years, this had been a topic that i have spent much time cogitating about. I find it imperative to stand for yourself and to stand for those who are to weak to stand up for themselves. Not only to ensure that a tragedy like the ones above don't repeat themselves, but because its the only way i can get up in the morning and feel self satisfied. In my mind it seams like the only way to make what happened okay, is to do the opposite in the present time.
About a year ago, my family unexpectedly moved to peru, where i got the opportunity to first-handedly live surrounded by discrimination, whether because of color, money, or social status. Everyday i am faced with the decision to stand up for myself and others or to choose not to speak out. Obviously standing up is the option i take, and always will. My family history had made me a person conscious of what people may be feeling, and has left me with a life prioritized by values.
Staying true to my priorities will follow me in every journey i ever take. Even today, the day i am thinking about student responsibility, academic integrity, and campus citizenship, helping prevent discrimination, and staying true to my values will always be a priority.