This week, UNL Atlanta high school Leadership Academy students were gathered at UNL headquarters and started talking about what happened this past weekend in Paris. They had a lot to say about Isis and what to do with refugees who want to come to the United States. They had some strong viewpoints, but they were all pretty much on the same page. These were the 3 points they made:
- They didn’t like how Facebook was only letting them filter their profile pictures with the French flag. “What about the other places being attacked? Why can’t we do something that shows everybody stands with everybody?”
- “Why do people think all Muslims are bad? That’s like thinking all Christians are the KKK. It’s just a small group of extreme people. They don’t like Isis just as much as we do. That’s why they’re trying to take refuge here!”
- “You can’t fight hate with hate, that will only make the people who hate us hate us more.”
One Thing Kanye West Was Right About
If there was anything that made sense in Kanye West’s legendary speech this year at the MTV VMA’s, it was when he concluded with the powerful statement, “Listen to the kids, bro.” At Usher’s New Look, we couldn’t agree more, that’s why our new tagline is ‘Youth Over Everything’. Youth have such a unique perspective when it comes to the issues that befuddle most adults. Their opinions are almost always untouched by bias. They don’t see color. They don’t see religion. They don’t judge. Instead, they see people for people. Kids believe people are innately good. Kids believe a better future for humanity is possible, because they think with their hearts, which aren’t yet hardened by people telling you, It is what it is. We could learn a lot to learn from these young leaders who are fueled by passion and think in terms of overall humanity and hope.
So, when did we stop believing? What ever happed to the saying, if you can dream it (and put forth the effort), you can achieve it?
One World, Powered by Service
In UNL’s Powered by Service intro program for middle schoolers, we foster this young world-changer mentality by teaching students how to dive even deeper into the thought process of using their talents to create change. One of the fun exercises we do is called ‘Exploding the Issue’. We get students to draw trees in order to identify how to solve issues in the world. The main problem that needs solving is written on the trunk, the roots are the causes and the branches are the effects. The moral of the lesson is you can’t fix the issue by just trimming the branches; They’ll grow right back. You have to destroy the roots. Can you imagine if all world leaders thought like this?
One Hashtag, One Movement
So, when our 16 and 17 year old high school students we’re gathered here at UNL casually discussing points that some adults can’t even begin comprehend, we asked them: What’s one thing we could all come together on and do to make a point? Like all young people, they immediately thought towards the power of social media, and that’s how the idea for #PictureWorldPeace was born.
So what is hashtag #PictureWorldPeace? As simple as it sounds, it’s a movement of individuals, young and old, from all around the world, who can picture world peace. It’s about global solidarity. It’s standing up for hope by changing your profile picture of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to a picture of you flashing a peace sign (or using our avatar below). It’s showing those who want us to be scared and full of fear right now, just how many people still believe in peace. It’s not giving into hate. It’s spreading the mindset that these Usher’s New Look students have until the rest of the world gets a “new look” too. It’s uniting to ignite a sea of peace signs, so we can show the world who’s really boss. It’s never backing down. It’s the New Look Effect.