Wayne Hsiung

Published on:

March 24, 2014


by Wayne Hsiung

They say pride is a bad thing, a sin. But as I reviewed the video from our last day of action, and saw so many brave voices speaking strongly for the animals, it's the feeling that I could not repress, that I could not stop from bursting out of my heart. And I won't apologize for it. 

When I was a young college student choosing between graduate schools, I remembered reading the words of a Nobel Prize Winner named Bob Solow. He was a US soldier fighting the Nazis in World War II, and a revolutionary thinker in the field of macroeconomics. And while every other economics department pitched itself by focusing on impact ("our professors have this many Nobel Prizes and that many members of the National Academy of the Sciences"), status ("you will find the smartest students and most NSF Fellows at our program"), or career path ("post-graduate placement options are better than any other school on the market"), Bob Solow and MIT were different. 

Bob made two simple points. The first was that your life has to be important. We have only one life to live, and you have to believe in what you do. The second is that your life has to be surrounded by people you believe in, a real community of people who support one another even in the face of external criticism or internal conflict. There were only two times in Bob's life that he felt he had both. One was as a captain in the US army, leading the charge into Europe with a rag tag team of young people who were freeing the world from tyranny. The other, he said, was as a young professor of economics at MIT -- where a team of liberal economists had formed up to resist the conservative tide from the freshwater schools in the Midwest. 

Economics graduate school turned out to be not the right place for me. (I've written a bit about why in a prior blog post.) But those words from Bob Solow have resonated with me over the years. And while there are so many things to be proud of, with the incredible team of people we have at DxE, the thing that I am most proud of, that I cannot stop bragging about, is the sense of common mission we have in fighting against what Prof. John Sanbonmatsu rightly called an atrocity, and the profound goodness, love, and integrity of our diverse community of activists all over the world. Everything from a teenage kid giving a resounding speakout in Philadelphia, to the relentless intelligence of our new organizers in Copenhagen, I just cannot stop myself from feeling an overwhelming sense of pride in our mission, and in our community.