The night of November 9th of 2016 will forever be a landmark moment in my life. Watching the election of that night shocked me beyond measure, and I wasn’t the only one. Young people across America received a wake up call too bellowing to ignore, that screamed “you are responsible”. Responsible for the shape our country takes, each other’s wellness, and our generation’s future.
On the morning of November 10th, 2016 I stood between my Human Geography lecture hall and the main steps of UT’s tower, where a group of about 7 students had just began to form. I wasn’t sure if they were going to be the only ones, but I decided to join them. My confusion and concern didn’t allow me to walk away. I knew about the consequences of strife too much.
As the group grew, so did the crowd of students watching us at the bottom of the steps. I will never forget the terrifying feeling of being watched by strangers, afraid they would judge me… Or being photographed by them, afraid they’d paint me as a political nut, a violent protester. For the first hour or two, until noon, I was holding up my sign in a way that hid my face, but it was beginning to be softened by the light rain and humidity of that morning. The connection I felt to the passion of those around me numbed the discomfort of holding my arms up for hours. My voice was part of a collective whole. When I had the chance to speak, I stepped up. A clip of what I said was caught by one of my friends cell phones. Many more spoke after me. Heartfelt accounts of discrimination, tearful poetry, and angry calls to action followed.
Then we marched. It was unscheduled and without a permit, but the force of many was too strong to fight. You would think that the election of a man that the majority of my generation despised would cause us to become disillusioned, disenfranchised and pessimistic. But in reality, a fire was born within us that’s bound to burn for the rest of our lives. Like our parents and grandparents, the flaws of our political process have brought us onto the national political stage and empowered us to become major actors on it. I do not in any way speak for everyone my age or of my ethnic or religious identity but as a member of the American youth I am and for the rest of my life will be dedicated to taking charge of my country’s future.