Letter from the Editor in Chief – Cassandra Dang Nguyen
“I know it sounds cheesy, but I want to change the world.” This is usually how I answer when someone asks me, “what is that you want to do with your life.” It makes me laugh because I wonder why I always start off with this little disclaimer. Why is it cheesy that one wants to better the world? To ensure that every single person has an opportunity to live a life of dignity? Why is it, that when I tell someone that I wish to make these missions my vocation, am I labelled a ‘dreamer?’ For that matter, why is being a dreamer so unrealistic and irresponsible? What even counts as realistic? Living within the lines? Following others around like sheep? Never critiquing the status quo, accepting our ‘lot in life’, watching innocents be abused physically, emotionally, and spiritually?
I cannot tell you exactly when this need to confront injustice began, but I can tell you that it is the only thing in my life that is clear. I do not know exactly what career I will have, what exactly I will do for a ‘living’, but I can tell you that the need to speak out against injustice is something that needs no material motivation. Lucky for me, as I have trudged through academia, I have met several people who have this same calling – a desire to better to the world, a desire that goes beyond grades on a paper, beyond the approval of a professor, beyond the classroom and the university. A desire that bleeds into the quotidian, because this “subject of study”, quite frankly, is the study of our lives.
So here we are, a team of passionates, ready and willing to take on this work. A work that is often thankless, a work that, at times, has us banging our fists in frustration, a work that sometimes leaves us exhausted and demoralized. Yet, regardless of this reality, who can deny that this is also a work that brings us immense joy, a work that involves a perpetual learning, a work that calls for connections to be forged between those we once ‘hated’ or failed to understand, a work that increases self love. This work is a necessary work – it is a labour of love, and I can not wait to begin.
In Solidarity, Cassandra
* By working to raise human rights awareness, Journalists for Human Rights University of Toronto works to fulfill the mandate of jhr. However, the views expressed in this magazine solely belong to the authors’ of the respective pieces and do not necessarily reflect the views of jhr.
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