About 100 years before I was born there were some kids in New York that were really bugged about how children workers were treated. Specifically, the news paper boys, the “Newsies”, were outraged about the raise in paper prices. So the young boys decided to do something about it to make things right.
I’m not sure exactly how much of Disney’s musical Newsies is factually accurate, and if I had the time I would like to look it up, but I know that it was an incredible musical that told an amazing story of hardship, courage, and determination against all odds.
The Newsies went on strike against all of the paper companies in New York, demanding that they got treated as employees with fair pay and treatment. What started in one town quickly grew to the entire city, and then state of New York. The boys started a movement. At first they were directly talking to other Newsies in other parts of New York, and then they reached out to all child workers in factories, the shoe shinning business, and other businesses as well, asking them to join the fight for better treatment.
It wasn’t easy to stand up to the big guys in the corporate business world. The leader, Jack, had many moments where he doubted what he was doing and wanted to take the safe way out by running away to Santa Fay. However, with the help of his friends he discovered how you can’t run away from a fight you really care about winning. “Seize the day”, was their chant to keep moving forward despite the odds against them.
Now is the time to seize the day
Stare down the odds and seize the day
Minute by minute that’s how you win it
We will find a way
But let us seize the day
Courage cannot erase our fear
Courage is when we face our fear
Tell those with power safe in their tower
We will not obey!
This first part of the song is sung by Davey, one of Jacks best friends, and he also tells Jack, “This is the first time anyone has done anything like this, it is going to be dangerous.”
This line blew my mind a little because I could relate so easily to the idea. I’m doing a lot of stuff that has never been done before by students, and it hasn’t been nor is it going to be easy to carve our own path, but we need to seize the day and keep fighting for it if that is what we really believe in. A movement doesn’t have to start with an adult.
(And PS. I hate it when people leave before/during the curtain call; it’s just so rude. These people worked really hard for you to watch a great show, give them the respect of clapping for their work at least!)