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The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

Snapshots of senior year: the ripple effect and Gaza

Neetra Chakraborty
In 50 years, I want to be able to say that the work I did, the decisions I made or the people I met changed some part of the world, even in a tiny way.

Dear reader,

Last month, former professor Ruth Gottesman donated $1 billion to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. The donation ensures that the school is tuition free forever.

I can barely fathom the concept — one single donation can make a school free forever. There’s some kind of economic reasoning behind that about how interest on the money will keep accruing, but I’m stuck on the outcome. At Albert Einstein College, endless future generations of doctors will be able to pursue medicine without concern for student debt. They can give back to low-income communities around the school. They can save lives for as long as the college exists.

The ripples of Ruth Gottesman’s donation will keep going forever. I like the idea that something good will never truly end.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the ripple effect. It doesn’t always occur to the extent of Gottesman’s donation, but one interaction can change the course of someone’s life in immeasurable ways. Tracing back the lines of our lives brings us to surprising roots.

I’m only a sports editor because of an offhand comment my former advisor said the last time I saw her. I wouldn’t have joined my cross country team if I hadn’t met that one friend in first grade. But the effects of those events won’t reverberate throughout the entire course of my life. In all likelihood, they’ll end once I graduate high school.

What kind of ripples are we making over the duration of our lifetimes?

The most common answer would probably be nothing. But the world is a lot bigger than we realize. Humans have an innate tendency to get wrapped up in our own busy lives and forget that one crucial fact. We’re in high school, and sometimes it seems like the daily routine of our lives is the only thing within our eye line. But the impact of our lives are not confined to what we see right now. The rest of the world is going to be shaped in some way or another by the consequences of decisions we make on a whim.

I’m not just saying this because I’m a second-semester senior who can look at life without picturing it on a college application. I’m saying it because I can’t stop thinking about the bubble we live in — the safe, privileged town of San Ramon — compared to the rest of the world. How do we break out of it?

Nothing is done in a vacuum. I refuse to believe it. Everything we do makes an immeasurable impact on everything else — call it the ripple effect, chain reaction, or even fate.

Ruth Gottesman was a recent example. Another one is the uncommitted campaign shadowing Biden’s re-election bid. At the Michigan primary on Feb. 27, pro-Palestinian Michigan residents held a protest vote, aiming to gather 10,000 uncommitted votes to push Biden to call for a ceasefire. More than 100,000 people voted uncommitted. In a state that Biden won by around 150,000 votes, that Trump before him won by less than 11,000 votes, that protest matters.

Before you say that it’s only a statement, a symbolic show of opposition, consider its impact. The protest was publicized to the world. It inspired similar votes in other states, including our own. In the week following, 263,000 more voters chose “uncommitted.” So yes, your vote matters. It’s clearer now than ever.

Though I don’t believe this protest will change the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, it shows them that their stance on Israel’s actions in Gaza will not go unchallenged.

It’s not something we can hide from for long. Like it or not, the ripples of the war in Gaza are knocking on our front door. When I think about San Ramon, I don’t think about activism. This is a pretty complacent town. Compared to Danville, with its Trump rallies at the intersection of Crow Canyon and Camino Tassajara, we’re pretty tame.

But we can’t be when the ripples of our actions might be able to change the future. To help enact a ceasefire and hopefully save lives.

Now I don’t believe that the ripple effect will do our work for us. We have to call our representatives, vote and get involved beyond posting on our Instagram accounts for only our circle of close friends to see. Only then, once we’ve done all we can, can the ripple effect magnify our efforts. That’s when I’ll know I’ve broken out of the bubble. That’s when I’ll know that I’ve made a ripple in the ocean of our lives.

In 50 years, I want to be able to say that the work I did, the decisions I made or the people I met changed some part of the world, even in a tiny way.

Throwing stones in the pond,

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About the Contributors
Abby Kapur
Abby Kapur, Sports Editor
Abby joined the Wildcat Tribune on a whim and stayed for the wonderful people she found. Her goal for this year is to leave the sports section better than it used to be. In her free time, Abby loves to run with her team, get coffee with her friends, and bake with her sister. A fun fact about Abby is that she has watched her favorite movie, Knives Out, at least seven times. If Abby could be anybody on the Tribune, she'd be Luna (past Tribune member), because of the unique, attentive way she sees the world.
Neetra Chakraborty
Neetra Chakraborty, Art & Graphics Editor
Neetra has done journalism since her freshmen year and the Tribune feels like a home to her after two years. This year, she wants to write more and expand her reach, including trying multimedia and other genres of journalism she hasn't tried before. An interesting fact about her is that she has lived in the U.S., India, and Japan. If she could be anyone in the Tribune, she would be Shreya A. because she's such a girlboss and Neetra admires her a lot.

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