On January 21st an estimated 2.9 million people participated in Women’s Marches in the United States alone – as well as dozens of marches across the world, making it one of the largest protests in U.S. History. This means that people from all 50 states, 32+ countries, and all 7 seven continents are ready and motivated!
The evening of November 8th, I went to bed angry – really angry. Angry that fear, intolerance, and hatred had temporarily won out over acceptance and love, the defining characteristics that already make America so great.
The morning of November 9th, I woke up sad – really sad. Sad for all those who woke up scared to just be who they are – a minority, a woman, a member of the LGBT+ community – scared to be an American, each unique in their own, diverse way.
However, as I walked onto campus that November morning, I began to feel okay. I walked by total strangers engaging in positive rhetoric, listened to classmates having intelligent, respectful conversation, chatted with kind and empathetic people whom I feel so fortunate to call my friends – and I truly felt okay. As I read the stories, view footage and see pictures from the over 600 Women’s Marches around the world, I now know that we will all be okay. Okay because it is these intelligent, driven, great, kind-hearted people who have the education, the tools, and the drive to do great things. I feel okay because I know that as long as these people have a voice, hate will not win. It is these people, and so many others just like them, who will change the world.
So today, and every day, we need to remember that America is not one man or the results of one election. America is you and me – it is all of us. If we take that knowledge, that power, and refuse to be defined or destroyed by it, instead letting it drive us to be stronger – I have no doubt that every day we can be better than we were the day before. That four years from now we will be stronger, better, and kinder together, as a nation, than we are in this moment.
So, friends, whether the outcome is what you wanted or far from – I encourage you all to practice empathy, be tolerant, kind, and compassionate, to always engage in positive rhetoric. Use your voice, aware that you have both a responsibility and a great privilege to be able to help speak up for those who find themselves disenfranchised, for those who struggle every day to have a voice. Carry with you the knowledge that what you say and how you act has so much power. If we all do these things – it’ll all be okay.