The Daily Illini

Editorial | Seek truth and spread it

Time’s Up. #Metoo. The student reactions to the Parkland shooting. Political unrest within the Trump administration.  

All of these movements and events were propelled by a call to action. It wasn’t a coincidence that each new initiative occurred within only two months of another.

For the Silence Breakers, it was decades of keeping quiet. For the Parkland survivors, it was countless school shootings.

Regardless of what your stance is on any of these topics, there is a common denominator in all of them that we can learn from. Recognize the power of using your voice. All the change you want to see in the world starts with you. Don’t wait for others to speak up.

Sometimes, actions and results take a while, and you may not be believed at first, but don’t give up pursuing the truth. After all, it took over 30 years and dozens of allegations — despite almost all of Hollywood knowing — to finally put Harvey Weinstein in his place. It took two decades and 368 allegations for Larry Nassar to spend the rest of his life in prison.

As student journalists, this realization of how powerful our voices can truly be — no matter how young, inexperienced or knowledgeable people tell us we are — propels us forward.  We strive to tell the truth, even if sometimes that truth isn’t what people want to hear. Our job is not sugar-coating, but instead being a catalyst for change.

While journalism is how we choose to use our voices, there are countless ways to speak up, and a degree in journalism or a position at a publication isn’t required.   

It’s important to remember that although the truth is hard to stomach at times, it is ultimately good. Seeking truth isn’t about ruining someone’s career or making lives difficult; it is meant to push for societal change so future generations may have it better.

We do it because it’s the right thing to do. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, government employee or someone who watches the news every night after dinner. You have the same ability.

And yet too often people turn a blind eye to the truth.

When nine accusations of sexual misconduct are made against a politician, there’s an obvious power in numbers. No amount of money, pardons or endorsements should be able to save them. And despite all this, Roy Moore almost won the U.S. Senate special election in Alabama last December.

Swallow your pride and set aside the politics. No matter how you look at it, certain things in life are innately wrong, including sexual assault, mass shootings and oppression.

After The Daily Illini turnover at the end of spring break, when a new group of student journalists take over the Editorial Board and the newsroom, the goal will always be to call out those wrongs and to seek all sides of the story.

It shouldn’t matter if it concerns your childhood best friend, your own parents or even politicians or celebrities who are more powerful than you by societal standards. There’s always the risk you won’t be believed, but hold your own and don’t back down if it’s something you feel strongly about.

Speak up, and make sure it’s true.

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