2016 wasn’t the greatest year, and not just in terms of celebrity deaths. It ended on the downer note of both demonetisation and Donald Trump becoming President of the United States of America (arguably the most powerful country in the world) and filled with instances like the bombing of Aleppo and the increasing desperation of the refugee crisis across the world. Not to mention closer to home things like the recent Bengaluru mass molestation.Take all of this into account and you could be forgiven for thinking of the coming days with something like despair.
On this somber note, we have two women who have spoken up. Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes and Michelle Obama at her final official address, both touching on the same subjects, both stressing on the need for responsibility.
If there was one thing which stood out in Michelle Obama’s final address, it was her emphasis on youth. It’s the young who will inherit tomorrow, regardless of who rules today. And it is the young who have the greatest responsibility of speaking up and speaking out. Much like Streep, Obama went to embrace the diversity (of opinion, faith, race, politics etc) and reminded everyone of just what was at stake: “You have a right to be exactly who you are. But I also want to be very clear: This right isn’t just handed to you. No, this right has to be earned every single day. You cannot take your freedoms for granted.” With the last year still fresh on our minds, this has never been more important.
If there’s anything the words of these two women leave us with, it’s hope. Hope that even when those at the top shout us down, our collective voices will and must become louder. Hope that our voices matter, that they will be heard. And that we must never stop raising them.
Thanks for this, ladies.