As a Brooklyn Tech Student, I am constantly surrounded by those who take initiative.
Not only do we have nearly a hundred non-profit, activists organizations and clubs at tech, but we have six thousand students participating in them.
We've got huge initiatives like Novel Girls, which takes books as donations to pursue women's' education and HOPE, which operates based on a controversial point system to encourage students to volunteer at any local event.
And yet, despite all these amazing initiatives, I can't help but fall in love with the screaming man.
I mean this quite literally. Just tonight, at a panel open to discussion about student activism, a Sikh American student used his opportunity to make everybody uncomfortable by reminding us about the way our most recent textbooks have whitewashed history. He read a passage that criminalized Sikhs unjustly and asked why we allow this scripture to be the foundation of a lesson at such an elite high school.
And the look on the teachers sitting on that panel was priceless. How do you respond to such a direct and truthful outcry?
He was quickly called off the stage as one of the history department teachers struggled to give a coherent answer, but it was too late. The hundreds of students sitting at that panel had already understood there was a ridiculously insufficient textbook and there must be something done about it.
Now don't get me wrong-Brooklyn Tech loves initiative. They encourage students to start them and create their own clubs and join and help-Brooklyn Tech fosters initiate.
However, some initiatives should never be convenient. Initiatives that hold depth and demand change, in a way, must be inconvenient.
Truly, I think this is the best initiative any student can take.
The passionate and authentic response to injustice.
A response that is made so confrontationally-so inconveniently.
I seldom see this kind of initiative-the kind that knocks the breath out of you and shocks and guilts you.
The kind that makes everybody in the room uncomfortable and forces us to face the problem.
Although sometimes this initiative may come from a larger structural program, we must acknowledge the value of this agential, inconvenient kind of initiative. One that we all have within us-one anybody is capable of taking.
Even if it means sometimes this initiative will come in the form of a short, angry brown kid who wants to learn about the truth of his ancestors.
So I write this, not only celebrating the amazing student government organizations that truly care about these global issues but about the angry and passionate students who stay hours after school on Friday nights to demand new textbooks. I write this, not only encouraging large student organizations to continue their contribution but encouraging you to take a step forward-to take initiative-and pursue inconvenience.
My name is Ishrat Zahan and I'm a 16-year-old Mogul Events Reporter for Brooklyn Technical High School who focuses on both contemporary issues and agential ones that directly affect me. Apart from being an events reporter for Mogul, I am also the president of Current Affairs Awareness Forum, where [...]