“What do you fight for?”
For some people, that’s a difficult question. For others, it’s the easiest answer in the world.
Teenager Megumi Jindo writes for the causes she loves while living in New York City. When she writes, she wants to inspire people, she said. For her, this is especially true for raising awareness of people in the disabled community. Additionally, she created a literary magazine, “Kinda Like A Not Therapists,” where students can submit their work pertaining to mental health. It’s designed to be a safe place for students who are struggling.
Jindo, 17, started writing in elementary school and hasn’t stopped. But it wasn’t until the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that she can remember writing for a specific cause. She had a lot of time on her hands and began to work towards repairing the world. This progressive writing was only heightened for her in January 2021 when Amanda Gorman spoke at the inauguration day. This is where she learned about her love for poetry and what helped motivate her to start performing. She’s been writing and performing her poems at Slams and for events since.
But bringing about advancement isn’t easy. To start, you have to know what you’re working toward. Jindo defined positive change as, “(When) something is moving in a direction that is for a greater purpose.”
Progress fueled by a greater purpose is complicated. Jindo, who advocates for mental health in her writing, said, “I created (an organization) to help people who are not only suffering on the outside, but also on the inside.”
She said that mental health isn’t talked about enough. “I guess I didn’t really notice it… and I saw so many different people my age who were struggling, whereas you don't really see that in school, obviously. It just kind of exposed me to a whole, newer level of the world outside.” This is part of the reason she sees it as so important to begin advocating for that change in mental health standards, especially in America.
And though Jindo’s drive for a better world is admirable, finding your greater purpose isn’t always easy. Lucky for us, you don’t have to just choose one! It’s okay to dabble in climate change and voter rights while also working on gun control and religious freedom movements. Jindo herself said, “I try to inspire people through (my writing) in terms of global warming or any other world problems… the whole American community.”
Next step: Learning how to make a change through action, like Jindo’s writing.
“I think being exposed to different people (is one of the easiest ways to make a difference) ... just interviewing other people who have inspired you or who you have noticed making a difference. I think doing that kind of shapes you as a person and motivates even more to use that for the better. The small things you do, like learning, are the things that eventually make the major difference,” she said.
From there, it’s important to advocate for what you believe in, in a format that you believe in. Whether that’s through writing, reading, recycling, lobbying or protesting, it’s important. It’s important to exercise the Constitutional rights we value, like Jindo does every time she puts pen to paper or raises her voice for her cause.
Changemaking takes many different forms, each one as valid as all the others. There can be so much guilt in the social justice world that it becomes easy to forget that everything you do, from writing your feelings, to marching, to reading the news, does make a difference. It’s not an obligation to do even the littlest things, like recycling or smiling at someone walking on the street. These are choices we make every day, and people like Megumi Jindo are the ones who are encouraging us to make them.