@youthstrike4climate.ieIn response to Trump Has Inspired Civic Engagement, Willis Felix debuts on ATC with a reflection on how focused and energized American civic engagement has been during Trump’s first term as POTUS.
Since election night 2016, it was known that America would undergo dramatic change. With the increasingly polarizing ideas spewed from the Oval Office, it becomes more difficult to remain impartial to the political climate of the United States.
Despite the madness, it is because of it that people have been encouraged to draw lines. To take stands for what they believe in. It has resulted in peaceful protests, marches, and a serious rise of political activism in today’s youth. It has made the average American’s stances more important than ever before.
It has urged people to fight for the planet’s well-being, accessible healthcare, and for access to basic resources like clean water and electricity on an island.
It has allowed for women to advocate what they wish to do with THEIR bodies.
It has allowed for people to support their LGBTQ+ peers and make them feel like they can leave their homes and not be in danger.
It has allowed for students to fight for sufficient education funding so that children of color and low SES students at a university are just as ready to succeed as affluent students.
It has allowed people to take a stand against injustice committed by law enforcement.
It has given people a voice to advocate for refugees and immigrants who come to this country for an education, supporting their families by working in fields 12 hours a day on low wages.
I understand that my views may conflict with yours, and that is okay. A nation where there is one set of ideas is toxic, but understanding other ideas allows for unity and support of another’s struggles. I seek a better United States of America that doesn’t have an asterisk next to “Liberty and Justice for ALL.” I seek a better United States of America where the motto “All men (and women) are created equal” is self-evident.
The beautiful part about America is that the foundation of this nation allows for discourse. You can stand for something. It is okay. Take a stand. Take a knee. Be true to others. Be true to yourself.
With so many opportunities to join or create movements, there is no excuse for you to not be the change you want to see in the world. Americans of all backgrounds have found their voices in today’s political climate just by working hard, staying dedicated, and most importantly, staying passionate. There will be people who do not agree with you, but if you are working to make the world better, who gets to say you can or cannot do it? That is civic engagement, and the only person stopping you is you.