When Natalie Warne was young, she learned about not just Martin Luther King, Jr., but all the people surrounding him who were equally committed to and involved in the Civil Rights struggle. Natalie calls such people "anonymous extraordinaries": "people who work selflessly and vigorously for what they believe in. People who are motivated by conviction and not recognition." She was inspired by what was possible.
Her senior year in high school Natalie learned about the plight of child soldiers through the film Invisible Children and was struck with the certainty that she needed to do something; but what? As she said, "What can one 17-year-old do? You've gotta give me something."
Natalie interned with Invisible Children to help get a bill passed that would make it possible to apprehend Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and to provide funding to help in the recovery of those areas devastated by the longest war in Africa. Natalie says, "For us, it would have been insane not to go. We all felt this urgency, and we would do whatever it took to pass this bill."
Watch Natalie's TEDx talk here (about 13 min):
Natalie ends her inspiring story by telling young people: "Whatever you want, chase after it with everything you have, not because of the fame or the fortune but solely because that's what you believe in. Because that's what makes your heart sing.... That's what's going to define our generation."
Natalie's experience and video are useful for so many reasons. It:
- serves as an example of a great ordinary hero;
- shows the power of what youth (or anyone) can do to enact positive change;
- demonstrates that we can have an impact on people around the world;
- highlights the power of anonymous extraordinaries and shows that we don't have to be MLK, Jr., or Jane Goodall to make a difference;
- outlines how much work and time can be involved in striving for change.
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