What a difference a year makes! Just a year ago Malala Yousafzai was invited to deliver an address to the United Nations. At the time rumor had it she was being considered for the Nobel peace prize. Well she didn’t get it then. But now she’s crowned Nobel Prize princess among celebrities and global heroes.
Her story is one of imagination through education. At a young age she became a social advocate, encouraging her peers on the value of reading and writing. Even though the Taliban issued threats Malala continued to fight for liberation, speaking out on gender inequality. She was fierce and fearless.
It was just another day in the neighborhood as she was on her way home. She was riding the school bus along with her friends. Then someone boarded the bus and asked “Who is Malala?” That was a life and death moment as she was shot at close range. On that day her story was all over the international news.
Malala talks about sitting down and doing nothing or getting up and doing something. Her sense of purpose was seen in her resilience and “can-do” attitude. Who knew that a 17 year-old could be a global example of social change like Dr. King and be the youngest to have received the Nobel honor?
CNNs Michaela Pereira tweeted “Malala says she’s thankful that her father didn’t clip her wings but instead let her fly.” She’s seen miraculous recovery in mind and body. Her spirit was bruised but not broken. Malala shows how to turn the worst lows into new highs whether in “Anytown U.S.A.” or the world.
In last year’s speech to the UN she was heard describing the choice she had to make. She could decide to do nothing and be killed or to do something and be killed. That’s not a decision most of us have to make. But it reminds us of similar words by other peace prize recipients as well as CNN heroes.
These individuals possess a sense of conviction that runs deep. Malala continued to stand for something so that her fall wouldn’t become a fail. It’s her sense of conviction that has helped to make those tragic circumstances not be final. This quality is found in our social champions as well as our hometown heroes.
Her example reminds us that social change comes not by power nor by might but by serving something bigger than ourselves. Even political strategist Ms. Tara Dowdell was quoted as saying “I’m so inspired by her selflessness as she shows what we’re capable of when we truly care about making a difference.”