Zach Kopplin: still a little guy, even though he’s doing big things.

Zach Kopplin: still a little guy, even though he’s doing big things. January 16, 2013

I was reading this article about Zach Kopplin, who is a one-man wrecking crew against creationism down in Louisiana.  Most of us know all the good things that Zach is doing, but this is the part that stood out to me.

“This was a pivotal moment for me,” Kopplin told io9. “I had always been a shy kid and had never spoken out before — I found myself speaking at a meeting of an advisory committee to the State Board of Education and urging them to adopt good science textbooks — and we won.” The LSEA still stood, but at least the science books could stay.

No one was more surprised of his becoming a science advocate than Kopplin himself. In fact, after writing his English paper in 2008 — when he was just 14-years-old — he assumed that someone else would publicly take on the law. But no one did.

“I didn’t expect it to be me,” he said. “By my senior year though, I realized that no one was going to take on the law, so for my high school senior project I decided to get a repeal bill.”

Nobody begins as a talented activist.  In fact, many only become activists because they feel they must, not because they go looking for a fight.  And working for the benefit of the world makes us grow, it changes us.  It forces us to go into battle dragging our shyness behind us.  Even if we think we could never be as quick on our feet as Matt Dillahunty or as passionate as Zach, like jumping into cold water, we find our comfort only after we’re in.

Big activism almost always begins as small activism, moved by little people prone to all manner of mistakes, who were only ever trying to change the little things.  Remember Zach Kopplin (and pretty much every other atheist activist you admire) if you ever find yourself thinking that you can’t make a difference because you’re small or because you’re not perfect.

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