Kelsey Trevett, 17, UK
I have always found the most interesting pieces of writing come from those who approach a topic with a fresh and unique perspective. It’s not the predictable, typical opinion columnists who ignite a spark of genuine engagement within me; there are undoubtedly some regular columnists and commentators whose opinions I can clearly express on one subject or another without reading so much as the headline of their article on said topic. Instead, it’s those who come to the table with a different perspective — something that I perhaps haven’t considered before — who really get my attention, and who truly help to form and develop my views on the world around us. After all, I reject the modern-day use of the term ‘the majority’, as surely the majority is, in itself, made up of countless different minorities, and hence ‘the majority’ is completely subjective at all times, and in all use cases.
I don’t tend to consider myself as having any sort of unique perspective on things, although I suppose that’s because I have — unsurprisingly — grown quite accustomed to my own perspective over the last seventeen years of holding and developing it. From an objective stance, however, I suppose that, in certain contexts, I can be seen as offering a viewpoint which is not necessarily encountered by many people on a day-to-day basis. I’m disabled — completely blind –, which whilst being far from my defining characteristic, has unarguably had some influence on my perspectives and experiences throughout my life.
I have had the advantage, however disadvantageous it has seemed at times, to gain a closer insight and understanding of the education system, both via its strengths and its weaknesses, learning how it does and (more often) doesn’t work for each individual student it stands to empower.
I have experience-based views on accessibility needs, in a variety of different contexts, from access in our digital world, to the seemingly more straight-forward accessibility of public facilities, such as train stations, libraries, and leisure facilities. These latter accessibility challenges are, interestingly, sometimes the hardest to overcome, in my own experience.
I am young. Throughout the last few years of political activism around the world, we young people have made ourselves an increasingly high-profile platform from which to make our voices heard, and to ensure that we are not forgotten in the politics of today, which is still dominated by those who alone think that they know best. The greatest example, perhaps, of a young, politically-engaged person, is Greta Thunberg, whose action against climate change sparked worldwide student strikes, and earned her a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. It is vital that, today more than ever, the generations of the future are able to express their views in a way which forces the politicians of today to sit up and take notice, acting upon the collective wishes of those who will follow them. Maybe my words will have no effect, maybe they will, but if we all sit quietly, looking pretty and doing nothing, then I can promise you without a shadow of a doubt that the world will not change, and our voices will never be heard. This blog is my contribution.