Where do we go from here? What we have just witnessed is one of the most upsetting elections in our lifetimes. As a young person, like many others, it was the first election in which I voted. Full of hope and fear alike, I cast my vote this morning believing that it mattered. Although I did not vote in a swing state, I voted not only because it is my civic duty as an American citizen, but because it is my right to have my voice be heard by those who will go on to represent me.
Despite this outcome, I still believe this to be true.
Don’t let the outcome of tonight’s events dissuade you from taking part in the political process. We must start from the bottom up because just like presidential and Congressional races, local and state elections matter.
This is not the end. Not by a long shot. It may feel like it, and there will be many tests pushing us to believe that it is, but it is not. We are a nation of fighters. We must continue to participate in our system and encourage the same of our peers. We must educate ourselves and encourage the same of our peers. We must remain vigilant and encourage the same of our peers.
We will not live in fear. We will not lose.
As one of the largest generations in the United States, we have a powerful voice. We have more power than we think and we must use it. We are not too young to fight for our rights and our beliefs.
In two years, we will face our next major election: the midterms. Although generally regarded as less important than the presidential election that occurs every four years, it could not be farther from the truth. If engage, educate, and encourage ourselves and our communities, we can and will make a difference. Through relentlessness, we can change the majority of representatives that speak on our behalf not only in the Senate but in the House of Representatives as well. Beyond that, continuous engagement will ensure that our beliefs are represented by our leaders in future elections. That’s huge.
Tonight, we mourn. Tomorrow, we organize, we fight, we move forward. We learn from our mistakes and from one another.
No matter what, do not give up. No substantial change has ever come easily and this is no exception. The truest test of our strength is how we react to hardship and we will not take it lying down. Do not become apathetic. We will not be complacent in these coming years. Your feelings are real; take some time to process them and heal, but do not become consumed by them. Use this anger, hurt, and pain to propel you into activism in your own communities in small ways and large. We get up every single time we fall, more determined than the time before. We are bigger than this. We are better than this.
From the chairman of your local school board to your state governor to the president of the nation, your voice matters. Use it.