An open Letter To The Next Generation

I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated – Malala Yousafzai

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To the next generation,

We owe you an apology, we dropped the ball, not just in the U.S. election but on so many levels. We have made so many bad choices collectively, we have abandoned principles not just in one country, but so many, The election of Donald Trump isn’t our only failure, there are so many more, Europe is being ripped apart by the rise of parties we should never have let close to power, the Middle East is burning every day because we chose to ignore it and the polices that our leaders pursued that fed its destruction.

We let the inequalities of this world slide by.Change must be continued, but so many have forgotten that, I was born into a time when unemployment was huge, homosexuality was practically banned from being spoken of and the last vestiges of empire had only just been surrendered. When I was born in 1980 West Berlin was surrounded by a wall and Europe was divided by “The Iron Curtain” that ran from The Baltic to The Black Sea.

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Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe. – Elie Wiesel

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While I was growing up walls came tumbling down, I’m writing this on the anniversary of the Berlin Wall opening, civil rights increased and we made so much progress on changing the world for the better, but we’ve taken that baton and squandered it, and for that we share a collective responsibility, both those who chose it, and those of us that didn’t stop it.

You stand on the precipice of our making, we’ve not cared enough or fought hard enough collectively for you, but know this I am so proud of so many of you. You still care, you haven’t given up on fixing the destruction ripping its way through every part of this world and its societies. You still want change, you still want to renew that vow that you will make it better, fairer, more equal.Every poll shows that those of you under 30 are desperate for a different vision to follow, to support and to be part of.

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I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. – Martin Luther King Jnr
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It is hard to ask you not to give up, to hold that close to you and never let it go.

The future isn’t ours, it belongs to you, each of you has so much more at stake than we do, you must kindle that flame of outrage and anger at this moment and this place we have. Turn that flickering match into an inferno, make those voices as loud as you can. Never turn to hate, never turn against each other, it’s hard in these moments to not feel hate, to just feel anger and resentment, but find hope again, find love and find a way to deliver the promise you have.

It may take having to make heart breaking choices, going to the polls and casting a vote for the least awful option, but that is the start, use the size you have to force change, make our politicians and leaders realise that being horrific doesn’t win votes, that you will pick the most progressive voice and they will have to start using different messages and policies. Don’t fall into our trap of apathy. Make that voice heard at every election, make it heard at every level, every parish vote, every council ballot, every general election.

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Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome – Rosa Parks

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Take that message to everyone you meet, tell them of the future that you want and need, tell them that we can’t go on like this, win hearts with that voice of change I’m so proud to see in you every time I open social media.

I can promise you that many of us, despite the evidence do care about you, your futures, your dreams and aspirations, we hear you and we want the same thing, we’ll be there with you, we are in this fight with you, but please NEVER give up.

To echo the words of a much better President than the one than who will soon take the oath of office, John F Kennedy.

If not us, who. If not now, when?

About Ross Pollard

Since starting writing on my 31st birthday in 2011 I have held a number of positions at magazines and websites as well as regularly producing articles for numerous publications alongside contributing to TV & radio shows as a freelance fashion journalist including Hoxton Radio & Fashion One TV. Alongside writing, I have worked in other industries helping to design & grow digital platforms, develop businesses and support operations practices. This experience has proved invaluable in building an understanding of how businesses work, and the landscape in which retail, B2B commerce and other commercial operations develop. Knowledge of commercial interests has helped shape my fashion industry insights beyond critiquing of garments

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