“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Embrace my identity, and give those who cannot speak a voice.

In 1943, Ila Frank was sent from her home in Prague to a Nazi concentration camp. A month later, she met my grandmother, Esther. In 1944, on the eve of Nazi liberation, Ila and Esther’s captors forced them from the camp, and made them march hundreds of miles at gun point towards East Germany. If the prisoners sat from exhaustion they would be left to die or shot on site.

My grandmother was overwhelmed from exhaustion, but Ila never let her sit. Ila is the reason I am here today.
This beautiful human is my namesake, and part of my identity. She never married or had children, so my family adopted her into our own. If I don’t share Ila’s story, her legacy would be lost. 

There are many stories like Ila’s which are never told, because people cannot use their own voices to share them, or people are too scared to speak up.

With the privilege of an HBS degree comes the obligation to speak loudly and help others do the same.  Today I am the Diversity and Inclusion officer for the Student Association at HBS, in the years to come I plan to build communities where people are empowered to use their voices and express their identity.

— Ilana Rosen