We all have stories. Dr. Freeman Hrabowski’s talk was a reminder that we can’t keep them bottled inside of ourselves. Stories, like Dr. Hrabowski’s own, can inspire us. Stories, like the one that belongs to the Russian major Habrowski described, reveal people’s drives and dimensions. Stories, like those we hear throughout Martin Luther King Jr. Day, inspire us to push for change. As Dr. Hrabowski closed his speech he commended us for listening with such openness. If only we could listen to each other with such fervor. To do this we need to recognize that truth is not a solitary concept. I think we begin to think of truth as a point on a graph or a date in a textbook: unarguable, incontrovertible, dry fact. But our truths are novels, with stories to tell and infinite possible paths of analysis. And our truths may differ. The fact that we did not personally experience something does not mean that it cannot move us or that it should not affect the way we view the world. We only experience a small amount of our knowledge—the rest comes from what we learn from others. So if someone tells you about a negative experience, something that is uncomfortable for you to hear, you need to take it seriously. Because, even if it is not your truth, it is worth a listen. And part of listening is that sometimes you’ll hear stories that are not nice or hopeful or pretty. I’ve noticed a worrying trend in our ability to cope with stories that aren’t nice. I have heard some say that Dr. Hrabowski was the best Martin Luther King, Jr. Day speaker they have heard at Andover. I would agree. He delivered a speech that was eloquent, touching and inspiring. But that might be because he was not as divisive, or perhaps angry, as other speakers have been in the past. This Monday the audience did not feel guilty or scolded. But stories that are not so Herculean, stories that may offend or divide or scold are present in our lives at Andover. Those stories deserve consideration, and not just on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The problem is that sometimes there are things to be angry about and sometimes people should be guilty and sometimes they’ve done things that merit a scolding. The point of listening to people is not to make us feel better about ourselves and our world, but to learn and to understand and to think. Complaining about the means and force with which a message is delivered is a way to discredit the speaker without having to think actually think about what they have to say and the problem they present without having to suffer the embarrassment of ignoring it outright. Sometimes we will feel uncomfortable. Sometimes we need to feel uncomfortable. Let’s take Dr, Hrabowski’s exhortation to heart. Let’s let this MLK Day be a marker in time, the day we decided to embrace the stories of our community, good and bad, so that we can hold up the good and actually make the bad better. Wishing does not make it so, and pretending that a problem does not exist will never actually fix it. Abigail Burman is a two-year Senior from Silver Spring, MD.