Pay it Forward

By: Justine Almira

I took a summer school course in high school and it changed my life forever.

I was in my 11th grade of high school, and I was dreading summer school! I just wanted to finish my courses, receive credit and move on with my life. Not knowing that it would change my life, I ended up taking a course called Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity.  I didn’t really expect much from it because I didn’t know too much about it. But as the days went on, we started to talk about events that happened during our history. These events took place from 1910 – 1995. We learned about the Holocaust, the Holodomor, and the Rwanda genocide. I started to become more curious about the things that we were learning, I would sit in class and give my full attention to our teacher.

Every day, I was in disbelief. Why were children being taken away from their families? Why were families and communities starved because of their religion? Why were mass murders happening because of one’s skin colour? Often, I wondered why the world was such a cruel place? Although these things happened in our history, they continue to happen today. After taking this course, I knew immediately that I would want to bring about positive change in my community, and help amplify voices that need to be heard. So, I decided to further expand my knowledge and major in Criminology, in hopes that one day, I can change people’s lives for the better. Continuously, I am learning about all the injustices in our world today, but I am also learning how to become a better ally to marginalized communities.

On the last day of summer school, we watched a documentary that really stuck to me until today. This is how the story goes:

There was an astronomer who was named Tycho Brahe and he wanted to find out the meaning of the universe. So, he persuaded the king to build him an astronomical laboratory. Once it was built, he would look at the stars every single night and chart them down. He had done that for 25 years…

When the new king came on the throne, his people asked Tycho Brahe, “Old man! The king wants to know what you’ve been doing here these last 25 years?” Then Tycho Brahe said, “Oh, I’ve been watching the skies.”

Then they asked him, “The skies? What for?!”

Tycho Brahe then said, “Well, I make a chart and I have 97 volumes, each exact one I’ve measured myself, and I can tell you the movement of every one of those stars.”

Then they asked him what the use of it was. He tells them, “I hope to live to get 100 volumes. I admit that I was trying to find out the meaning of the universe, and I haven’t found it yet. But I believe that someday, somebody will…and I will have saved that person 25 years of labour.”

Now, when the American astronauts landed on the moon, they had with them the tables of Tycho.

The trailer to the documentary can be found here

Let’s pay it forward and be kind to one another.

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