Students urged to make a difference

Published 9:50 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Anna Green

Troy University leadership students were urged to make a difference in their community by working to change the structural wrongs in policies throughout the country.

Stephen Black, the grandson of former United State Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, spoke to John Kline’s leadership and capstone classes about ethics and social responsibility.

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Black founded the non-profit organization, Impact Alabama: A Student Service Initiative, in 2004 and the group has been involved in direct community service since August of the same year. Black is currently the director of the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility at the University of Alabama.

“The largest challenge to the moralization of our society is the suburbs. We are dividing ourselves by income, and we have less time to converse with people unlike ourselves,” Black said. “The No.1 quality of successful leadership is compassion and a desire to identify with people who are different than us.”

Black spoke about infant mortality rate and children without health insurance.

“There are nine million children in the US without health insurance, and we are ranked 28 in the world with infant mortality rate based on poverty,” Black said. “That means that 27 other nations have less infant mortality. We are so technologically advanced, but we still have that much infant mortality. It is our responsibility to show compassion and help these people.”

Darin Chancellor, a junior at the university, was shocked at the numbers. “I’m just shocked that we would have that high of a morality rate and that many children without insurance. Hearing all of this inspires me to work harder to change lives,” Chancellor said.

Black said there was a difference between volunteering and justice.

“We are at a time when we are seeing more volunteers than ever. Young people are volunteering left and right, but, statistically speaking, young people today are not as justice motivated than generations before them,” Black said. “Less people are focused on changing the structural wrongs in policies throughout our country, than they were 20 years ago.”

Black said the best way to affect policy change was to be well-educated.

“Don’t be satisfied with the information you get from your favorite news source. Demand more than just your view-point,” Black said. According to Black, the most valuable thing he could tell the students was to find what they were passionate about and become involved in helping.

“Whatever you are interested in, or passionate about, research it. Find out who knows the most about it, meet with them, and get involved in helping and changing the policies in your community.”