Voices Against Indifference Initiative

A Decade Inspired by Elie Wiesel

sponsored by

The Leon Levine Foundation

Sandra and Leon Levine

Essay Contest

2nd Place


 Positively Impacting the Quality of Human Life

By: Kelsey Rice
Junior, Covenant Day High School
            Elie Wiesel depicts the destruction of the quality of human life in his horrific account of his experience in concentration camps during WWII in his book “Night.” This story shows how great an impact on the quality of human life humans can have through their decisions and actions. It causes me to reflect on my own treatment of human life, especially in comparison to the evil treatment described in Wiesel’s story. In my life today, I am responsible for the quality of human life in regard to how I contribute to my community. To have a positive impact by increasing the quality of human life, I can take certain actions to fight injustice here and around the world.
            As I live my life, I can contribute to my community for the betterment of society, or I can contribute to its corruption and destruction. The way I interact with strangers is one general way in which I can contribute to my community. Showing kindness and a selfless love to strangers encourages them and usually has a chain effect on the people that interact with those to whom I am kind. As a high school student, I can impact the quality of human life in my community through opportunities my school gives me. For example, my cheerleading squad and I help teach a summer cheerleading clinic for lower school girls that is open to the community. We teach them a lot about cheerleading, but we also have the opportunity to minister to them about God through devotions and singing. I think that for the little girls, getting such personal attention from the squad is encouraging because they look up to us so much. Learning something new like cheerleading is also a boost of self-confidence for them. I am responsible for whether or not I contribute positively to the quality of these girls’ lives during the time I am with them. I am also responsible for how I contribute to those I interact with daily at my school, my peers and my teachers. It is very easy to have an overall negative attitude about school because it can get so monotonous and difficult at times; however, I feel that I have a responsibility to make a conscious effort to do what I can to positively influence those around me in such an environment. I can do this by helping others with schoolwork when I have the opportunity, be being a good example to other students in putting forth my full effort in my schoolwork, and by trying to encourage others with my words. I am also presented with responsibility for the quality of human life at my job. I work as a waitress at Plantation Estates, a retirement home in Matthews. When I work, I am constantly interacting with the elderly and have many opportunities to impact them. I can work to improve the quality of their lives by being patient with them, attentive to their needs, diligent to do my job well, and friendly in general. In all of these areas, I am presented with chances to improve the lives of those with whom I interact.
            I can also positively impact the quality of human life by working to fight against injustice. In my daily life, I can speak out against injustice when I see or hear my peers doing things to promote it. I can also make a conscious effort to be sure that the way I think and the things I say do not involve treating others unjustly. I think it has become very easy for the majority of people in this day and age to become number to discriminating jokes and remarks, such as comments in regard to race, sex, religions, and age. Because it has become so easy, I can have an impact just by refusing to laugh at these types of things or by refraining from making these remarks myself. These kinds of things, the things we can do to fight injustice right where we are, may seem small in significance, but they are the breeders of injustice. Inhumane treatment of others does not just appear in our world; it is bred into the mindsets of people and eventually turns into action over time. Therefore, working to stop the spread of the thinking that teaches people to believe injustice is “okay” can have a vast impact on the world and causes it to matter.
            Though I am not able to travel all over the world, and not likely to devote my life solely to fighting injustice, there is still a great amount I can do to fight injustice in other parts of the world. For example, I can get involved in organizations devoted to fighting child abuse. I can be involved by giving money towards all the trips they must make and the things they need to buy to ensure that children taken from abusive situations are placed in safe homes. I can also help fight injustice by doing what I am able to promote democracy in nations governed for formerly governed by communism or totalitarian regimes. In my opinion, these types of government are the breeding grounds for injustice to take place. They often treat the people as one large mass rather than as individuals with opinions and feelings. In the best of circumstances, this leads to little care for those who are victims of injustice; in the worst situations it leads to inhumane treatment of people by the government itself. In response to what these types of governments do, I can support organizations or government agencies that are dedicated to promoting democracy and these foreign nations. Raising financial support, becoming a volunteer or employee in this work myself, and raising public awareness about the issues at stake are just some of the ways I can be a support.
            In conclusion, I am responsible for the quality of human life in general simply because I live. Because I live, I come into contact with different types of people and therefore have an impact on the quality of their lives. I believe that it is my responsibility to positively influence them as best as I can. Specifically, I influence others in my daily life at school, in ministries I am involved in through my cheerleading squad, and in my job. One major way I can work to positively impact the quality of human life is by fighting against injustice in my community and in the world. I believe that doing this matters because even the most insignificant-seeming things, if they condone injustice, are part of the breeding and spreading of the actual injustice that is occurring in the world today. Because I know and believe that injustice is morally wrong, I believe we all have a moral responsibility to do what we can to fight against it.