Social Justice Hero of the Week: Malala Yousafzai
“I’m not a character like Rapunzel or Cinderella; my story looks like any other.” These are words that only someone who’s story is distinctly different could say, right? Someone who, perhaps, is the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate, or who is almost single-handedly responsible for fighting for female education rights against the Taliban, or someone who was shot three times for simply boarding a bus to go to school.
But really, her story is like any other—a story of someone who is the victim of injustice and then fights for that to never happen to anyone else.
Malala Yousafzai is probably more than just a character I can identify as a “hero of the week.” She’s someone who’s efforts can be admired and seeing her impact could inspire anyone to speak out for what they believe in; someone who shows that it is possible to create change with your own words and actions.
Malala began her activism at a young age as an anonymous BBC blogger, and after the assassination attempt of her and her father, she’s written articles and books and given speeches that have landed her on Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” list for the last 3 years. Now, only 18 years old, Malala continues to stand up for women’s and children’s rights, and the right of everyone to receive an education. Particularly, she fights against the Taliban oppression, saying that “words and books and pens are more powerful than guns.” In all of her speeches, Malala makes it clear that she is not a single voice, but rather the voice of many. Malala is unafraid—she’s an advocate for courage just as much as she is an advocate for change and women’s rights. She’s precocious, assertive, confident—not because she was raised in an environment with privilege, or the means to make change simply happen, but because she has drive to achieve something with her wild, precious life.
Malala sees life as something more than a thing to be lived within 4 walls, and she’s living proof that it certainly is better when this is our mindset.
To learn more about Malala and her life check these out:
Her book: I Am Malala
Her documentary: “He Named Me Malala”