I have the very great fortune to work with some amazing young people, among them Max Poletis. Max is very clear about the world he wants to see emerging in the future, and following discussions with him, I'm publishing the text from his "I refuse" video, originally in French and translated here with his permission.
Huge thanks to Max, you give us older folk hope for the future! Leaders of the world, be ready to work with a generation coming into the workplace with this mindset. For most, some adaptation will be necessary...
"My name is Max and I refuse.
I refuse to admit, to allow, to stay mute.
I refuse the underlining of differences based upon hate.
I like diversity, I despise differentiation expressing vile interests.
I refuse segregation, discrimination, denigration, exploitation, instrumentalization of minorities and deprived people.
I refuse ethnicities being reduced to the simplistic rank of race.
I refuse the inequalities of gender, salaries, repartition of wealth and food. I refuse inequalities regarding the color of your skin, your sexual orientation, freedom of speech and religion.
I refuse the narrow-mindedness, the choking of liberal, ecological and other avant-gardist ideas and the devaluation of alternative ways.
I refuse to contribute to our planet's destruction, to the asphalting of our environment, to the unstoppable extraction of fossil fuels and ore being refined and rarefying itself at the same rate.
I, now, refuse low-cost flights and online ordering. I refuse GMO, artificial enriching and all these other delicious pesticides...
I would like to refuse the melting of glaciers, ice fields and floes, the powerful greenhouse effect, the soil contamination, the tropical and temperate forests deforestation, the vertiginous crash of biodiversity, the melting of permafrost, ocean acidification, intensification of disasters that can no longer be understood as natural.
I do refuse overfishing and poaching, products of the classical agro-industrial complex and the powerful pharmaceutical companies.
I refuse the muzzling, the censorship, propaganda and manipulation.
I refuse the violent repressions and the monopoly legitimate violence, specially when it's heinous, directed and uncontrollable.
I refuse human beings trafficking, rape, expropriation, death sentence, domestic violence, patriarchy, monetized capitalism, climate migrations, horrors done to animals, cynicism, greed, conceit and cowardliness.
I refuse POLICE VIOLENCE, TYRANNY, authoritarianism.
I support PROTESTS, direct DEMOCRACY and citizens' assemblies.
I accept negative feelings and the beauty of individuality.
I refuse always wanting to change others.
I refuse my soul's immobilism and unicity.
Heraclite of Ephese said : "One never bath two times in the same river."
I refuse the construction of artificial lakes and other misplaced dams.
I refuse spatial tourism, conquest and pollution.
I accept disagreement, deliberations and differences.
I hate obligation, decrees and executive power.
I refuse injustice and the atrocities of all wars.
I accept peace, obstacles and the laws of nature.
My name is Max and I refuse.
Her name is Chanel but what does she stand for.
And what about you, what can't you bear?
What are you willing to fight for?
What do you refuse?
To soften our hearts, here's a poem of the great Maya Angelou:
"You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hope springing high,
Still I rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history's shame
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into daybreak that's wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
And you too, YOU RISE
LOVE AND TENDERNESS for all of YOU!"