By Joe Skoog ’13
This year’s Summit on Human Dignity calls us to examine the opportunity gap created through economic inequality and how its effects can be seen throughout our own interactions.
Through all of the speakers and workshops we gain powerful insights.
It should be noted that the insights and knowledge we gain matter. They matter to us as students and they matter to the people affected by the opportunity gap.
It can often be those small insights that lead to big change.
But this is not enough.
Formal examinations cannot simply end when we file out of Robson Gym after the final Summit address.
We should not be complacent—otherwise this Summit will have done nothing of material value for anyone.
Sure, we will have learned and had our eyes opened to injustice, but we can’t stop there.
The way we talk about certain groups of people can have a direct effect on the actions we take. Our discourse can shape our realities in many different ways, and only through shaping our reality under the paradigm of action, can any true change occur.
As the old adage goes, knowledge is power; but knowledge is only half of the battle.
As we realize there is an opportunity gap and see how pervasive it is in our society, combatting the nature of this oppression is paramount.
This can be done in many ways, but a single unified or linear understanding can be self-defeating.
We need a multitude of visions to help combat the opportunity gap.
Whether it is through helping out our communities or educating others about inequalities, the things we learn can have a profound effect on us.
As students, we are the future policymakers and activists, and because of this, we should not forget that our education is a powerful tool in configuring our future.
Using our workshops as stepping stones to further action is the only way the Summit can truly have an impact.
The lessons we learn should be motivating factors for us, even as we go about our everyday lives at school. And there should be organized ways to help us put this into action through the year.
If the Summit should teach us anything, it is that discussions are only the starting point.