I Vow to Be a Lover
It was the summertime and Jalen, a young boy from the southside of Chicago, sat on his porch awaiting the arrival of his older brother. He waited patiently with his hands tucked neatly under his chin holding the weight of his head while he allowed his mind to wander. Deeply lost in thought, Jalen didn't recognize the black cadillac approaching his house, a usual warning sign. The windows of the vehicle rolled down and out came the mouth of a semiautomatic pistol. Within seconds, the trigger was pulled and Jalen became another statistic. Another life lost to violence. Another piece of evidence of the brokenness of this world. It is no secret that the world we live in is polluted by the transgressions of humans. Women in East Asia are being trafficked and young men of color are being profiled and criminalized for the smallest acts. In order for change to come, it must first begin on the individual level. We, as individuals, must make continuous and conscious decisions to become "skywatchers" for the future generation.
Skywatcher is a term used to reference individuals who look within themselves to find the solution to deeply-rooted problems. They believe that their individual actions create a strong foundation that future generations can build on to help resolve present issues. I vow to be a "Watcher of the Sky," to do what I can to land humans on the moon. Personally, an issue dear to my heart is violence. I live in a community that is heavily impacted by violence. To many, this problem seems unsolvable; no matter how many peace campaigns are brainstormed or how many vulnerable lives are lost, violence is still prevalent. One major piece of the puzzle is understanding from where this violence is derived: it comes from the absence of love in homes, communities, and schools. Simply, if I love my neighbor, then I don't wish to harm him. Love is powerful because it has the ability to break down barriers and save lives. I promise to share love in very tangible ways. I promise to share love with my neighbors by helping them shovel after a snow storm. I promise to share love with my little brothers by taking the time to help with homework. I promise to share love with my friends by reminding them of their importance in this world. I vow to share love with every interaction.
The job of a sky watcher is challenging. It becomes strenuous when making the positive decision is difficult and discouraging, when updates of homicides and bomb threats are constantly streamed through the media. We must have confidence in the fruitfulness of our small, everyday actions. In the words of the linguist Steven Pinker, "We will never have a perfect world, but it's not romantic or naive to work towards a better one." Our worldly issues may seem overwhelming, but it is through our individual efforts that hope is restored, barriers are broken, and lives are changed for the better.