The dictionary definition of “Pushing Forward,” our theme for the 2020 year, is “to progress, advance, or move forward, especially in spite of some difficulty, hardship, or obstacle.” As a TEDxYouth group, we constantly encourage everyone to put forth their beliefs and ideas. Our goal is to inspire future generations to be the instruments of change, motivating them to solve issues they are passionate about. When we decided on our theme “Pushing Forward,” we recognized its meaning, but in the past year, we have realized its value and importance. “Pushing Forward” can have many purposes or meanings, unique to each and every individual. For us, it represents resilience, adaptability, and change.
During this past year, we were not quite sure why so many people were drawn to this idea. Throughout this journey, however, we have come to appreciate the genuine connection our theme has to society. “Pushing Forward” stuck with us, even in times when we didn't completely understand its significance. We believe it is vital to embolden change and innovation by urging youth to pursue their ideas. Despite the numerous obstacles along the way, our theme reminded us to persevere, and we hope to inspire others to do the same.
“Pushing Forward” resembles resilience: learning to recover from setbacks, hurdles, or limitations. As a group of passionate high-school students, we faced many challenges due to our age. While preparing for our event, our team was underestimated by many people on numerous occasions. Our age amplified the difficulty of establishing partnerships and making connections. However, we remained resilient through tough circumstances, and in the end, we were able to establish some amazing partnerships. We will continue to practice our resilience, and we hope that during these difficult times, you all will too.
Adaptation is an important aspect of “Pushing Forward.” For instance, due to COVID-19, we made the difficult decision to postpone our scheduled conference from March 2020 to March 2021. Instead of succumbing to the disappointment we faced after delaying our event, we decided to continue creating an impact by virtually engaging our community during these unexpected times. Therefore, we partnered with organizations to support our community. By aiding organizations who provide PPE to front-line workers, we are raising spirits at local nursing homes and assisting small businesses. We hope to help others during quarantine in any way we can. In addition, we have also started a virtual series, TEDx Today, to encourage discussion and enthusiasm. By inviting speakers every Wednesday to discuss various ideas, we hope to create a TED-like experience for all of our virtual attendees. Although this pandemic greatly affected our plan for this year, we adapted and made the best out of the situation- thus our theme, “Pushing Forward.”
Most importantly, “Pushing Forward” means to enforce change. Unfortunately, there are numerous injustices still plaguing our society. In order to fight these inequalities, we must unite as a community. Our organization’s vision is to empower everyone to raise their opinion in situations that they are passionate about. As Desmond Tutu greatly worded, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” In the spirit of pushing forward, we should all push for equality. There needs to be a change for the greater good, and that change can start from each and every one of us. Together, we can set a powerful example for many generations to come.