Yesterday saw Elly Nowell with her letter rejecting Oxford University and Wikipedia both making a stand for what they believe in. Will it make a difference – it depends how you define ‘making a difference’; I’m sure yesterday saw ‘Elly Nowell’ as the name that hit all the most searched on polls. Yes she is not going to destroy an old age institution whose roots are fully entwined within the British History of deferrence and inequality, but her ‘joke’ email may have made lots of people think about what is really important in life. Oxford only has stature because it has been given that by people, as soon as it’s name because more synomonous with antiquated ideals of granduer, it’s reputation will fade. Elly may not achieve it’s decline single handedly but she may have altered people’s perceptions; for things to change they need to be discussed and in the public’s mind.
Similar could be said for Wikipedia, people joked about what will they do without innaccurate information for a day, but again it’s downtime has brought Sopa and Pipa into the public arena. Although this is on a bigger scale than what Elly has does it’s sentiment is exactly the same – we don’t have to accept the reality that is forced upon us.
It is well documented that changes in History come about once the discourse has changed, but for that to happen people need to be aware of issue – however you get the issue in the public area is a different discussion but the fact is it needs to be there. Letter writing, demo’s, petitions, violence, Twitter & Facebook are all different, (but by no means exhaustive) methods of getting the issue into public arena. Do you think Women would have the vote as soon as they did in this country without Emily Davison’s actions? Would black people’s rights be brought to the forefront without Malcolm X or Martin Luther King.
Always do whatever you can whenever you can in an attempt to make a difference – DO NOT leave it to other people, or have the attitude whats the point? If everybody did this nothing would ever change. Elly may not change the world but her actions may influence somebody who will! It’s time to stand up and be counted.