COLUMN: Today's activists give me the hope for the future
On the morning of Nov. 8, 2016, it felt to me like the world was going to end.
Hearing the news that Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States left me distraught and feeling hopeless. It brought me to the conclusion that the fear, ignorance and hate had won.
After eight years of President Barack Obama, all I wanted was his successor to be just as qualified. I wanted, as a young person, to have someone who would lead our country in the direction of the future — not spiraling our country 60 years into the past.
Knowing who was elected made me want to give up.
I don’t feel that way this year.
A domino effect of change and speaking out is happening in 2018, leaving me feeling hopeful and proud.
Look at all the movements and revolutions that have begun:
- #MeToo — women coming forward shedding light on sexual harassment and assault. Letting the world know these “role models” and “stars” we look up to in the limelight, aren’t as great as we’d like to think.
- Women demanding equal pay and treatment in the workplace in the #TimesUp movement, which has shined a light on the pay inequality not only in Hollywood, but around the world.
- The Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead, lit a fire of activism regarding gun violence and school shootings.
The momentum of this activism has only grown.
Dick’s Sporting Goods banned the sale of assault type weapons and Kroger raised the age to buy guns. Major corporations like Delta Airlines, United, MET Life and Hertz withdrew their partnerships with the National Rifle Association.
These student activists, who have used their voices as their ammunition, are the future. They are creating change.
They inspired a mass school walkout — where students across the nation walked out of class on March 14 for 17 minutes, in honor of the 17 Parkland victims.
They brought the March For Our Lives Movement to cities across the nation on March 24 where thousands marched protesting gun violence.
These activists are inspiring. We saw them on CNN on Feb. 22 during the town hall confronting lawmakers and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch with the most brave attitudes.
Comedian and actor Bill Murray recently said these young activists from Parkland and across the nation remind him of the Vietnam War student protesters.
“I was thinking, looking at the kids in Parkland, Florida, who have started these anti-gun protests, that it was really the students that began the end of the Vietnam War,” he said. “I think, maybe, this noise that those students in Florida are making — here, today — will do something of the same nature.”
In a time where giving up seems to be the next best option — don’t. Look at these students. Look at the impact they are making.
These young people are the future.
Their actions have inspired me to not give into hopelessness, but to believe in the power we still have.
Don’t give up the fight. Change is always possible.