By: Amaranthia Gittens-Jones, Guest Blogger
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”-George Bernard Shaw
I have used this quote before but I love it so much because it is such a powerful and true statement.
My parents taught me the importance of looking within to solve my problems and of taking personal responsibility for my actions. However, it is my mother who spends most of the time talking and disciplining.
In a recent article, on her blog, my Mom wrote about women taking charge of their lives. She talked about men standing with women to help on the issues important to them. She has always answered all of my questions, as best she could, even the difficult ones. My Mom told me stories of how her mother lived under a domestic violent situation for years, was assaulted and abused, and how the same happened to her in childhood and as she matured.
Since I was little, my Mom has taught me how to take charge of my life, how to defend myself, and stand up for my rights and beliefs. She told me it is very important for her to break “the cycle of violence” so she could be a healthy role model for me in my life. She wants me to fully take charge of my life and decisions. I appreciate and value all my Mom has gone through. She is doing everything she can in the present to make my life better in the future.
We recently joined a women's self-defense class at my local YMCA and I was the only one who signed up. My teacher told us that many women have signed up and either left because they were the only one in the class, or because he discusses possibilities of dangerous situations. He said the women who joined up became uncomfortable or upset about these scenarios. He believes every woman should take a self-defense class because in reality, there are people out there who can hurt you. The world is not a perfect place. He says girls and women need to be aware of their surroundings at all times.
"Fantasyland" by Amaranthia Gittens-Jones
This class has given me an awareness of what to do in these situations. I talk to my parents about these issues all the time, especially with so many stories in local and national news about women being abused and assaulted. I believe we, girls and women, need to take charge of our lives by knowing how to defend ourselves and taking responsibility for our actions and decisions. Like my teacher says: we need to become aware of what’s around us.
Positive change is possible but we have to first make massive individual change from within. What I'm saying is that we as people, young and old, should not be afraid of reality. I am still young and have lots to learn but I do not want to live my entire life in fear. I want to have hope for my future and in humanity. We need to not avoid difficult issues; we should stand up and push back against those who have harmful views. If someone in your family, group of friends, classroom, etc does or says something harmful/offensive, be clear and state why it's wrong. I believe if we respect ourselves and others and use our words and actions, we can stand up to these problems.
I believe positive change is attainable only if we have the courage to look within and change our minds first.
What can you do in your life or local community to inspire positive change? Take a step toward making that happen and share your discoveries here!
Amaranthia Sepia Gittens-Jones is 15 years-old. She aspires to be a mangaka (manga/comic artist) and graphic artist. In the future, her goal is to finish her graphic novel/fantasy novel ‘Whimsy’ by the end of high school and become a successful writer and artist. Website: http://iamproudofwhoiam.com Visit My Fine Art Gallery