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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letter to the Editor: Issues should be prioritized by each individual

Published: November 10, 2006
Section: Opinions

Firstly, I must agree with Miles Ketchum in his letter (“Other issues beside genocide”), that there are other issues out there besides genocide. AIDS has killed 25 million people over the last 25 years and shows no signs of slowing, global warming is a catastrophe on the horizon, and New Orleans still needs to be rebuilt. However, I believe that it is unfair for Ketchum to tell anyone that they should focus on another issue. How can anyone tell someone what they should advocate for, or what they feel passionate about? If you find an issue that speaks to your conscience, then you have the right to act and spread knowledge about the issue. Genocide speaks to me as an individual because I believe that no one has the right to take another person's life based on who a person is, regardless of where they live. Therefore, it is important to me to try and change things that are happening thousands of miles away. Ketchum doesn't have to think this issue is HIS priority, but neither should he belittle me if it is mine. Not knowing the effects of my actions does not diminish their importance. Nothing is ever a misplaced priority if you feel strongly enough that you are willing to devote your time to an issue. We all create our own belief systems and manage our priorities based on them.

Activism is not a zero-sum game;

a person can care about more than one issue without losing another. In his letter, Ketchum wrote of the need for STAN-AIDS (Students Taking Action Now for AIDS) or as it is known on this campus, the Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC). SGAC succeeded in getting HIV testing on campus last semester and is also currently planning events for World AIDS Day. I only wish Ketchum was more informed about the many advocacy groups on campus. There are organizations and individuals working on every issue, not only on this campus but in the Waltham and greater Boston areas and it is the prerogative of every person to find their passion. I'm sorry that Ketchum was upset by the gravestones last week. But it is a misplaced priority to tell me that my issue isn't as important as other issues out there. Ketchum should find what he is passionate about and devote his time to that issue. If he is truly interested in making a difference in campus advocacy or in the world, we would love to have him at the next STAND or SGAC meeting.

Erica Lipschultz '07