34 year old Jesse Williams is best known for his work as Dr. Jackson Avery on the hit television show Grey’s Anatomy, but beyond the screen, Jesse is widely respected as a global activist and the youngest member on the board of directors at The Advancement Project, a civil rights think tank and advocacy group.
His work in the global community was recognized at this year’s BET Awards, where he received the 2016 Humanitarian Award. Rather than electing to simply accept the award in gratitude, however, Jesse decided to use this moment in the public spotlight to deliver a powerful speech.
In just under 5 minutes, Jesse courageously addresses a number of core issues we all need to consider, bringing the entire audience at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California to their feet.
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While the entire speech was powerful, the first point that definitively stood out for me was his comment relating to the educational system. Jesse specifically thanked his parents for teaching him what schools are afraid to teach us, and argued that comprehension is far more important than a career.
To me, this served as a wonderful reminder that the education of all children needs to go beyond the classroom. There are so many well-intentioned and gifted educators in this world, but so much of what a child needs to understand cannot be taught within the curriculums that they are limited to.
The second point to stand out related to the system currently running the modern world. Jesse eloquently reminds us not only that it is based on division, poverty, and destruction, but that it cannot continue to function if we stand up against it. There is a great power in numbers, and so much of the progress we have seen made in this world was a direct result of us collectively demanding it.
Jesse also effectively illustrated the injustices inherent to the police state. Shouldn’t a law enforcing power apply the same practices and behaviour towards everyone it encounters? And furthermore shouldn’t it be founded on maintaining peace rather than sowing disorder?
He also effectively reminded us that to earn our ticket to critique the actions of others we must first take action ourselves. There are far too many judges and too few creators in this world, actively helping to build the world they wish to see and live in for generations to come.
Regardless of our particular race or creed, Jesse offered up plenty of food for thought in this speech that directly impact how we act and react in our daily lives. What points stood out in particular to you? Let us know via the comment section below.
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