As ambiguity remains the foundation of any new year, let’s relieve ourselves of hollow self-help resolutions and aspire for worldly changes that are effective, permanent and prosperous in 2015. With that being said, below is a list of five wishes for the upcoming year, hopefully we will see them all become a reality.
1. Strive to Achieve a Safer World for Women
We constantly hear about new rape cases and with the frequency of its occurrence we are becoming more desensitized to the heinous brutality these acts consist of, and what rippling effects sexual violence inflicts on the world around us. Rape culture is apparent throughout the world, especially in South Asia.
It is time we begin to work towards the safety of women and educate the world about rape, because no one should be afraid to leave their house at night or take public transportation. We need to address this problem through awareness projects, such as growing social media trends, like #WhyLoiter and #DelhiShamedAgain. More so, through early sex education, stricter laws and sentences placed by the government on sexual harassers, and most importantly, less victim blaming.
2. Ameliorate Racism and Prejudice
Eric Garner, Michael Brown, racist comments against former Miss America Nina Davuluri, hate crimes against Sikhs, calling actress Priyanka Chopra a terrorist after her 2013 NFL performance and discrimination against Muslims in the workplace, when will racism come to an end?
No human being should ever be subjected to the cruelty of others based on their physical appearance. Racism has become deeply integrated in the world, and unless we acknowledge its presence this type of hatred will not come to an end — anytime soon.
In the 1960s, protesters fought against racial discrimination in every aspect of society, from fighting in court, participating in major demonstrations to creating a campaign of non-violent direct action. But today, we are still unable to vanquish the role of racism in our communities or gather the necessary attention to earnestly begin the fight.
As we approach this New Year, remember that a person’s judgment can be modified, but a human being is irreplaceable.
3. Cure Poverty through the Spread of Education
More than one billion people in the world are living off of less than $1 per day. In some rural areas, people must walk more than one mile to collect water, 800 million people go to bed hungry everyday, six million children are dying from malnutrition before they turn five-years-old and 114 million children do not get a proper education. As we know it, this vicious cycle has continued for generations.
Despite global progress, we need to realize that education is the key to eradicating poverty. There are millions of children who do not get a basic education, and considering we are days away from 2015, learning should be a fundamental human right.
A major effect of education is that it allows underprivileged people to emerge from unemployment and hold more secure jobs with better working conditions, decent pay, escape child marriage and unwanted pregnancies. Education has the power to revolutionize the lives of populations and for a single individual it can lead to unlimited possibilities for advancement.
One social enterprise doing just that is former Brown Boy Prashant Mehta’s Conscious Socks, making strides towards global education, one sock at a time.
4. Continue our efforts to obtain equality and empower women
You do not have to call yourself a feminist in order to realize that the status of women in any part of the world is still not equal to that of men. Women who stand up for their rights are frequently put down, due to terms such as “feminazi” and “man hater,” which is a situation that needs acknowledgement and change.
Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra responded to journalists making sexist rape jokes, and Mallika Sherawat, who spoke up about the treatment of women in India, are the women who should be brought into the limelight for using their voices to talk about “taboo topics.”
In the following year, we can empower women by promoting women’s political participation along with their rights, creating more reproductive health programs and as mentioned previously, through the necessary education of all girls. We women have waited long enough, and this new year may be the year for us, even Aziz Ansari, the self-proclaimed feminist, said so on The Late Show with David Letterman.
5. Combat diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis B
HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B among other diseases are responsible for taking the lives of teachers, leaders, parents and children in countries that do not have stable healthcare. These ailments are unknown global killers, which take the lives of millions of innocent human beings yearly.
By promoting safe sexual behavior, supplying clean water, improving living conditions and providing treatment for the prevention of illnesses we can not only save lives, but also protect the poor from the financial burden of medical costs and provide the care they so desperately need.
One eco-friendly, accessible and affordable product that helps women living in rural areas maintain safe health standards during their menstrual cycle is Saathi Pads, also designed to cultivate a sense of empowerment by giving local women a chance to make and sell their own.
Keeping these five changes in mind,we hope you have a prosperous and joyous new year full of fresh opportunities and positivity. If you are fortunate enough to help mitigate another person’s burden, then you are already doing your part to change the world in 2015. You have the power to change the world, and this year is your chance to get out there and make an impact!
Jill Patel is a high school student living in New Jersey. Besides writing, she has a love for art, coffee (caffeine in general) and exploring new places, whether they be in NJ or in a completely different country. When she is not wandering in search of coffee or new places to visit, Jill is either binge watching TV shows or updating her blog. She hopes that through Brown Girl Magazine, she will be able to reach out and connect with South Asian women from around the world. You can also follow her via Twitter and Instagram.