On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear cases from five states seeking to keep their same-sex marriage bans in place, effectively handing a tacit victory to the gay rights movement. In keeping silent, the Court prevented the religious preferences of some from limiting the life choices of others.
We probably do not remember exactly what each of us were doing or thinking a few nights ago, during what is usually one of the most relaxing times of the week: between Saturday and Sunday. But it might be worth trying to recall those hours for perspective. Some of us may have reserved that time for conversations, sleeping, partying, or thinking about the approaching summer as we stared through our windows at a snow-covered river. Amid our routines on that very night, Matthew Nehring, the student, beloved friend, and fellow staffer at The Tech, experienced the last hours of his life. The tragedy pains the community at MIT, which has already felt deep losses in the past year. Thinking about our physical proximity to this event, the negligible distances between buildings and rooms on campus, is chilling. In spite of the seeming closeness, the walls separated a single one of us from the rest of the community.
Following the January 2010 earthquake that killed over 200,000 Haitians and left more than a million homeless, donations flooded in from governments, financial institutions, and individuals around the world. U.S. households donated a total of more than $1.4 billion, and the American Red Cross raised the most of any charity for the cause: nearly half a billion dollars in the span of a single year.
Just by virtue of being sheltered, fed, and clothed, we are among the richest quarter of people in the world. Add to that the endless opportunities and resources available to us as MIT students, and there is no question that we are among the freest to direct our lives and exert our wills. Yet freedom can’t be sustained on its own. Will, direction, and a sense of responsibility lift our wings to keep us here.