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What Makes People Speak Up?

By Sarah Smith - | Jul 7, 2021

Sarah Smith

(Sarah is a Elimsport native, a sophomore English major with a passion for writing and politics. She attends Cedarville University at Cedarville, Ohio.)

My friends describe me as someone with strong convictions. I was described as a tattle tale when I was younger. What can I say? I like the truth to be made known.

I am someone who speaks up. But I’m not happy with just speaking up. I want others to feel the need to speak up as well. Forgive me for my feistiness, but I disapprove of neutrality. I am not saying that everyone should believe what I believe, but one should know what they believe in and be willing to stand up for it. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Speaking up is a wonderful thing. I think back to the Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence, the ultimate example of when people stood up for something, something so big it changed the course of the entire world.

I admire Paul Revere. His patriotism is inspiring. He had a different, yet more straightforward way of speaking up. His cries of “The British are coming!” did not show his convictions as much as the fact that he was willing to risk riding around the countryside arousing everyone, hoping to not get caught by the wrong men. What made him speak up? What made him want to do something? In a poem written about him, Longfellow says this:

“A cry of defiance and not of fear,

A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,

And a word that shall echo forevermore!

For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,

Through all our history, and to the last,

In the hour of darkness and peril and need,

The people will waken and listen to hear,

The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,

And the midnight message of Paul Revere.”

His urgent message he carried on horseback throughout the streets on that late night in April fulfilled the people’s need for leadership and direction. They needed someone who was willing to be bold and speak up. Paul Revere’s midnight ride revealed his passion for freedom for the people. He recognized the need to speak up for independence. There was nothing passive or shy about his ride. He spoke up because he felt something inside of him and decided to do something about it.

John Hancock was not a speaker or even a writer. His strength was that he was well known and respected throughout the land. By signing the Declaration of Independence big and clear for all to see, he spoke up in a way that showed bravery, encouraging others to stand up for independence as well. By signing it, he was putting a potential target on his back for those who did not have the same convictions as him.

I relate to John Hancock because I feel the need to be the example and encouragement for others to speak up for what they believe in. I know not everyone has the same views or convictions as me. But, as the old saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.

(Sarah is a Elimsport native, a sophomore English major with a passion for writing and politics. She attends Cedarville University at Cedarville, Ohio.)