What kind of change do we need? What is it to be an agent of positive social change?
We, the generation that faces the next century, can add the solemn injunction, 'If we don't do the impossible, we shall be faced with the unthinkable'.
Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of the colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. Each time a person stands up for an idea, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, (s)he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
--Robert F. Kennedy
The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to
--Karl Marx, eleventh thesis on Feuerbach
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Do not let anyone tell you that we are only a tiny handful, too weak ever to attain the grand objective at which we aim.... All we who suffer and who are outraged, we are an immense crowd; we are an ocean in which all could be submerged. As soon as we have the will, a moment would be enough for justice to be done.
Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence.
--Henry David Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience”
We don’t have to engage in grand heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
--Howard Zinn, “The Possibility of Hope”