Speaking up makes a difference

Making your voice heard on any level can have massive benefits for yourself and those around you


Elizabeth Joseph, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

I’m not an avid viewer of YouTube videos, but I am familiar with the mantra recited at the end of many of them: “like, comment and subscribe for more.” Although the phrase has become cliche, it asks very little from the video’s viewers. If you enjoy anything, taking the time to be engaged at least at a minimum level of effort has a palpable impact on the success of whatever that thing may be.

One such way of actively showing your enjoyment is to vote with your dollar, or put your money where it counts in order to make a change. For example, according to Forbes Magazine, Wonder Woman experienced a turnout of $411 million, leading to the following movie, Justice League, reshooting scenes in order to include more of the character. Similarly, the incredible box office responses to movies such as Black Panther and Get Out demonstrated audience’s desires to see more movies with black and minority leads. Supporting creative endeavors that represent what you want to see is imperative to making sure those visions get a platform.

However, if you don’t have the means to donate or fund businesses with your dollar, there are other ways to show support. If a server at a restaurant is particularly great with service, leave a positive review for them or commend them to their manager ─  doing so can get them a higher salary. If you enjoyed a movie, album or book, leaving a positive review or rating it on whatever platform, as well as sharing it on social media or amongst friends, is a really simple way to support it. When I wrote and published a book a few years ago, I noticed that even one reviewer ranking my work could move it up higher on the charts for its genre.

Furthermore, taking the time to draft and send an email can make a difference. If you’re tired of the way something is done at the school, or classes you want to take aren’t being offered, reach out to a counselor, principal Tobie Waldeck or possibly an administrator on the district level to offer your input ─ community members participating in focus groups, for example, is what guided the fund allocation for the bond issue, described on page 6. Taking the initiative to step up is how we innovate and move forward. Events like Relay for Life and Mr. Mill Valley came from students who wanted to make them happen. And, on a larger scale, all around the nation, more and more students are speaking up for what they believe is right, making their voices heard to legislators, journalists and the public as a whole.

While I try to remain engaged with what I love, I’ve also noticed that with every tide of current events, I find myself and those around me getting angrier and angrier with what’s happening in the world. Part of that upset for me results from feeling that no matter what I try to do, there is no difference, regardless of whether my actions are spurred by anger or enjoyment. However, fueling your emotions towards a goal, instead of holding on to them, is a means to making a difference.

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