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Learning lessons from influential, inspiring leaders 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, arguably two of the most respected American figures today, were hated by many when they were alive. It was not until after their assassinations the public began to realize and appreciate their efforts to improve American life and ideals. Yet taking a stand for what you believe in is important, even if it does not align with the popular public opinion.

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Martin Luther King Jr. inspired change in how people of color were treated. 

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are examples of this. After a tragedy struck their school, these students decided to take action when others would not. Despite facing opposition, they continue to petition for stricter gun laws and safety measurements months later.

Change and progress seldom happen overnight. It takes years of work, and, more often than not, an army of people, and maybe a few radicals, before a situation is resolved. Many people who fight for change do not receive the recognition they deserve, or may not live to see the change when or if it happens.

Thousands of people continue to stand up for their beliefs, even if they are only a small part of a larger movement.

Dr. King understood the importance of supporting societal issues. In a speech from 1968, Luther said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” This is still relevant today.

Students can incorporate this into issues they face on campus.  One’s conscience, or what people believe is morally right, should come above what people believe to be politically acceptable or popular. Examples of this are the school walk-outs and peaceful marches students have organized across the nation to classroom discussions on ethical and moral behavior.

As an elected leader of the American nation during a time when the Union was wavering, President Lincoln chose to fight to keep the country together rather than allowing the south to simply secede. Lincoln believed in preserving the Union so he stood strong.

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm,” Lincoln said. The Feather staff encourages students to determine their right and wrong and reasons or support for their decision so they can stand firm in the face of adversity.

On campus, students who stand up for a certain values or ethics are usually met with positive encouragement. However, there are those who disagree based on their views or belief they are “too cool” to buy into certain causes especially when their peers mock those who seek change. 

We as a campus, community and nation must be willing to stand for our passions and convictions when we see something wrong and not let others sway us. What are your convictions and/or moral compass and how were they come developed? During this time of student political and moral involvement, are you prepared to stand alone? 

For more editorials, read EDITORIAL: Pros and cons of a well-rounded student and EDITORIAL: Take advantage of traveling opportunities.

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