I faced history one day and found myself. Beginning in my 9th grade year of high school, I was a “Facing History and Ourselves” student in Cleveland, Ohio. My first experience with this organization was with a Holocaust survivor named Max Adelman. I can still hear his voice ringing in my ear as I remember him stating that, when he was in the work camps he use to wonder “does the world care,” arriving on the negative side of this question. I also realized that at one time, I didn’t care. In middle school I was known as the class bully, taking my title so far that once I nearly broke a kid’s arm.
I faced history one day and and became an activist. Listening to Max Adelman made me look within myself, and challenged me to make sure I was caring for everyone, even those outside of my universe of obligation. When the class lesson was on identity, it allowed me to put my life into perspective, understand who I was as an individual, and illustrated that I can have an impact on the society around me. When the class lesson was about making choices, it challenged me to study the history of the world and my personal past, so that in high school I was no longer the class bully, but the student that spoke against violence in and outside of school. When my facing history class started the session on choosing to participate, I became committed to activism. In high school, I went on to fight for youth rights and became the co-founder of a non-profit called Ohio Youth Voices.