We Are Present. We Are Aware.

I am a part of something much bigger than myself.

I woke up and decided to do good. I dragged my dad out of his office and told him we needed to go downtown to march for my rights, human rights.

On January 21, 2017, I participated in the San Diego Women’s March.

My city, along with many others, were a part of the largest protest in US history. In the heart of downtown, I stood next to brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, people of different sexualities, identities, races.

We chanted “women’s rights are human rights” hoping our battle cries were heard.
We yelled “this is what democracy looks like” for those unaware of our visibility.
We stood together in the multitude of love to let our new administration know, we are here, we are loud, and we are proud.

I am proud of my generation.

We seem to be known as the generation of ignorance and lacking empathy. This, of course, coming from a generation much ahead of our time who have not experienced the experience of today’s youth. This is our world too.

When the generations ahead of us fade out, it will be our revolution, that lasts. We just might be the most politically active and aware generation because we are growing up in a world that allows us to be. Social media and the internet helps connect people with similar values and experiences and supports their coexistence in doing good.

There are millions of voices around the world wanting to be heard, and most of those voices are the youth in our country who were not able to cast a vote. We may not have had a technical say in this election, but that does not equate to complacency, but to a wave of activism towards something we believe in.

I stood side by side with people of all ages.

One instance in particular, though, being my favorite. A little girl marched with such light exuding from her very existence as she held up a sign that read,

“Hey, Mr. President, at my school bullying and name calling get you suspended. Words matter.”

There was comfort in knowing we were all standing together to take care of one another. Leading and raising little boys and girls around us to better the world they will once too, have a powerful impact on.

Whenever I think about the future of our world and what role I play in it, I can’t help but reflect on the little girls that are in my family.

At the golden ages of 10, 6, and 1 years young, I can’t help but think about the world they will be growing up in. I also can’t help but reflect on the world I want them to believe in.

As a 17-year-old in this generation, I am aware of the impact that has been created and the beautiful connection and revolution we have joined. In the midst of brewing American chaos, there is a conscious awakening. There is absolute comfort in knowing young people are involved. We see the injustices our people are faced with and our connections to each other allow us to do something about it.

I remember staying up entirely too late the night of the election results.
I remember my mood increasingly getting worse as my tv screen turned red.
I watched my Twitter feed fall to a panic as we all realized these next four years might impact our peers in ways we didn’t even want to think about.

Campaigns of support, poetic words of advice, and links to mindfulness for those feeling anxious flooded my timeline as we all mourned the state of our country. The day following the election results carried heavy hearts and raised questions about what we were supposed to do next. It felt as if at that moment, more than ever, our voices needed to be heard. It was a sign telling us we needed to take action, rather than sit back and allow our visibility to dim.

I have been told that hope is for suckers. If you have no hope, to begin with, there are fewer chances for you to be disappointed.

I woke up the morning of the Women’s march and knew there was something new in the air. Not only hope, but a presence, awareness, and inclusion. I knew there was hope because as I stood next to my people, I became enlightened in knowing that we have done this before.

We, as one united people, have fought for basic human rights before. It is now, though, that we needed to demand our visibility.

We needed our new administration and the people backing them to know, their intentions and agendas against our human rights, were to divide us no more.
We are present, and we are aware.
We have a responsibility to the people who believe in the same change we wish to see.

I have never felt more inspired to stand up with the people of this generation working to be seen, in particular for these next four years.

This is what democracy looks like.
This is what resistance looks like.

Photo Credit: roman.petruniak Flickr via Compfight cc

Alana Marcelino

With everything going on in the world, it is important to know just how powerful your voice can be. Through art, music, writing, whatever; we can really do something about the world that often feels like is trying to silence us. Writing seems to be the best form of communication for me, so here it is. As a young adult or teen in this generation, it can feel like the people of generations above us don't believe we can really make an impact. This world is just as much ours as its there's. I am on the brink of growing up, and I want the world I am a part of to really pay attention to everyone in it, not just a select few.

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