A year ago, I was a shy and timid college student who had no idea what to do or how I would do it. Last week, I held a rally.
As young people, millennials, we are told consistently to be quiet. We are told we don’t know enough, or have the resources or the ability to do anything. We are told we aren’t old enough to understand or to be important.
But those sentiments are wrong, and we are.
I am 20 years old, a college sophomore, and I held a rally covered on multiple news sites, even USA today.
I am, after seeing all the passionate and fearless individuals who came to speak, as well as to listen, so full of hope and optimism. In a time of uncertainty and fear, standing together in peace is one of the most important things we can do.
Speakers as young as 15 spoke about their fears, but also about their hope.
A man, a self proclaimed veteran of the protests in Berkeley, CA, of the last 1960s and early 1970s, told us to gather up bail money and head to Washington, DC.
A woman from the NAACP told us to use our anger to join organizations, attend meetings, and actually do something.
A man rom France told the crowd he was afraid of what to tell his children. He didn’t know how to explain the fear of deportation.
A woman, a traveller from a different state, spoke about the importance of reproductive rights, and of the basic human right of choice.
So many voices were heard, and together we were so loud, chanting “Love trumps hate”, that the sound reverberated off the buildings in an eerie, echoing manner.
I also learned quiet a bit, and I wanted to share that with you, and any activists young or old, who want to take a stand.
- Social Media is powerful, but ugly. Keyboard warriors are quick to call any activist “whiny, crybaby liberals”, and told us we were “just bitching” and that we should “get a job”. Those were from just one post on the page. What gives me hope, though, is the amount of support we gained, despite the negativity. Develop a tough skin and be steadfast in what you know is right.
- You are never too young, or too inexperienced to take a stand. We can make change if we believe we can. If we have a passion, a drive, and a goal and vision of change, we can make anything happen. Millennials are the future, and the future looks bright.
- Connect with people. At these types and other events. Get to know them, understand them. Ask them about their story and listen. You can never learn enough. Keeping in contact with other likeminded people will keep you in the loop for other events.
- Be optimistic. Keep your mind and heart open, and keep trying.