LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The Power of CMU Students

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Let’s assume you respect women, believe in racial equality, value democracy, and care about honesty, decency, and basic human kindness. How can you fight for those beliefs and values? Since the election, I have talked with many students who are grappling with that most important of questions — what can I do now to make things better?

Students have changed the world many times. On Feb. 1, 1960 four African American college freshmen sat down at a “whites only” lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. They were refused service but they did not leave. The next day, there were 20 students “sitting-in” at that lunch counter. By the end of the month, thousands of students and supporters had launched sit-ins, swim-ins, and other protests throughout much of America.

It is happening again. Students are again rising to the challenge of building a more just world. You won’t all agree on what that world should look like, but your disagreements can be a source of strength so long as you can respect your differences and learn from them. Over the last week, I have been profoundly inspired by my students, not just because so many are fighting for their beliefs, but because they are doing so while listening to those who see things differently.

So what should you do now? There are many ways to create positive social change, and I do not believe Carnegie Mellon students need a professor to tell them what to do. Just don’t stop believing in your power.