With Your Voice, You Can Change The Tide

Brian Ihejurobi is the first place winner in this year’s Howard County Oratory Contest to Honor The Legacy of Dr. King. A transcript of his speech is below.


Hello to everyone watching, my name is Brian Ihejurobi, a senior at Wilde Lake. Today I would like to share my experiences with injustice.

What does your own moral compass look like? What steps do you take in order to measure the difference between something that is good and something that is inherently evil? You see, depending on the person that you are asking, the answers you receive may vary. As humans, we are constantly being shaped and formed into unique individuals based on our experiences, environment, and upbringing, so we cannot indulge ourselves in the conversation of injustice without touching base on morality, the very catalyst that determines what we perceive as injustice.

Unfortunately, social injustice runs rampant around the world. It ranges from issues such as racism and abuse to even things like bullying. As a matter of fact, not too long ago I found myself in a situation where I was witnessing injustice in a school setting. I was in a friend group and there was one person in particular who was a bit on the heavier side compared to the rest of us. On a daily basis, some of the friends would berate him with “jokes” about his weight and his appearance. I wouldn’t laugh, but I would keep quiet, because it was only a “joke,” right? The way that the comments were made so casually made me feel as if I would be overreacting if I said something about it. But one day when this was occurring, something snapped inside me. I became assertive, and told them, “It’s not funny. Please stop.”

No one said a word. It was quiet for a good ten seconds. But from that point onwards, not a single comment was made about the person’s weight. That was all it took.

You might be thinking, “Well, that’s it? There has to be more.”

You would be right. Not necessarily in terms of the situation itself, but what you can take from it. All I had to do was use my voice. Standing idle while my friend was enduring verbal blows interfered with my moral compass, so I intervened and attempted to put a stop to it. I felt as though it was crucial for me to speak up because I wanted change, and it was not going to come without assertion. From that point on, I made sure to utilize this aspect of myself and reverse injustice in other encounters I am in.

It is important to not only remind ourselves of the morals that connect us as humans, but to also defend them with conviction. Your voice can be used to positively influence others and change the tide of a bad interaction. As insignificant as we may feel on such a large planet, we are all parts that form a greater whole. You may have to scream, yell, and shout, but your voice still matters.