This time of extreme uncertainty in our country is difficult for many especially teens. Often we hear conversations in the halls at school and then go home and turn on the news and hear another. It is difficult to find our place in this chaos. Through all of this we must continue to voice our opinions and concerns even if it seems as though are we are not powerful enough to make a difference.
On Saturday, January 21, 2017,around one million people gathered in Washington DC and millions of others around the US and even more worldwide to voice their concerns and advocate for their rights. This march originally named the Women’s March on Washington was meant as a way for people to come together and advocate for women’s rights as the new administration was just getting to work on their first official day in office. Although this march began just to advocate for women’s rights it also turned into a rally for LGBTQ, abortion, African American rights, and much more.
I attended this march as a young women who wanted one message to be sent to the world “We are always stronger together”. After the recent election that demoralized women, the LGBTQ community, and many different races this message is important to me because while we may feel defeated and powerless alone when we understand what our neighbor is going through we can combine our beliefs and experiences and turn that into positive change.
Originally it was estimated that about 200,000 people were going to be in Washington for this march and that estimate more than doubled to 500,000 the night before the march. When I first arrived at the mall I had many emotions flow through me. To see all of these people from many different backgrounds come together in a nonviolent way was powerful. Just knowing that this feeling of defeat was not just affecting me but so many others.
One of the most powerful things about this march that I experienced was the number of teens that attended. I knew of a few friends that were planning on going; however, I did not think that there would be a great deal of teens there. I realized that this march was a way for teens to get their voice heard and to feel counted.
We as teens are often considered a minority and our opinions often not acknowledged or accepted. From experience, I know that it is difficult to express your opinions when all the adults around you think of your opinions as less than theirs. While we may not have as much experience or even be able to vote, most of the issues that are being voted on directly affect us.
In order to change this pattern teens must form a community with others teens who understand and support what the other is going through. Doing this is so important because when bonds are formed positive change occurs. No matter what you support, advocate for, or are going through it is critical that you find someone who feels the same way and connect with them to build healthier relationships.
By Claire Jackson 1/2017