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NATCA Scholarship Winner Camryn Cadenhead Essay: “Brave Souls”

Every year, NATCA offers a scholarship program for spouses, children, stepchildren, and legally adopted children of active, retired, and deceased members in good standing for at least two consecutive years. Unions empower people to advocate for better working conditions and policies on local, state and national levels, working to achieve a brighter future for everyone. For 2022, students were asked to write in response to the prompt: “What is the difference between a group of people advocating for a cause versus one person speaking up for something they feel strongly about?”

Camryn Cadenhead, child of Kansas City ATCT (MCI) member Clarence Cadenhead, is among the 2022 winners of the NATCA scholarship. Read the essay Camryn submitted, below.

The most obvious difference between a group of people advocating for a cause versus one person speaking up for something they feel strongly about is the sheer numbers. We have all heard it said there is strength in numbers, because there is great power in people coming together to advocate for a cause they all believe in. Franklin D. Roosevelt said “people acting together as a group can accomplish things which no individual acting alone could ever hope to bring about.” In the distant past, and also today as I write this, there are people joining together as a collective to protest various causes and injustices. It is typically true that great movements do begin with one brave soul speaking up for something they feel passionately about. In an age of social media and the quick spread of information, millions of people can come together in a matter of hours with one simple Tweet, post, or YouTube video. So certainly one person can initiate a movement by speaking up, but to really be effective in getting the powers-that-be to take notice, listen to the concerns of the group, and eventually take action, it will always require a multitude of supporters coming together as a collective to effect real change. This is primarily the reason labor unions are formed, because those in power have the tendency to discount or even outright ignore the voice and even sometimes the basic rights of individuals. However, when that individual is a member of a union he or she is backed by an organized team of his peers united to ensure every voice is heard. In America, the First Amendment allows for the freedom of speech which affords each and every one of us the opportunity to speak openly on whatever we feel strongly about without the fear of being persecuted by law. Therefore, it is a basic right for each individual to speak out and speak up for any and all worthy causes that require a voice. It is from that initial voice, through which true beauty can come, when a group of people come together and magnify a cause as that one voice becomes many.

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