I woke up this morning filled with joy, elated and proud to be an American.
On Friday, however, I was not sure how to feel or what to think. To say that I was upset is an understatement.
You see, it was Friday that my entire school gathered for convocation and watched the Inauguration of our new President. Although Mr. Trump was not my preferred choice to become our new President, the ceremony itself was not what upset me. No, not at all.
White House climate change web page as of January 20th, 2017
It was later in the day when one of our school’s College Counselors, Ms. Armato, shared the news that the White House website had already removed its LGBT and Climate Change pages that the Obama administration had built and embraced. After seven years on campus for Middle and High School I’m known, I suppose, for many things and two of those are my passion for diversity, as a member of our school’s Diversity Council, and the other is my work related to the environment, especially climate change.
In a simultaneous change, at the same time that our new President was being sworn into office, his new administration was taking one of, if not their very first, actions in leading his vision of America by removing these pages from the world’s eyes and in doing so sending a strong, disheartening message. His message could not be more clear: LGBT rights and climate change are unimportant to him and his followers. That reality, those actions, made me sad. So sad that I was in tears multiple times on Friday. Click here to read an article about the website changes.
But today is, thankfully, different.
My elation has to do with the millions of amazing women and men that marched in Washington D.C., here in Miami and all over the world yesterday to send a message to Mr. Trump that we will not allow our voices to be silenced or our concerns diminished. The women, and those with them, who descended on Washington one day after the Inauguration far outnumbered those who attended Mr. Trump’s ceremony and that, too, gives me great hope. Their powerful passion can (and must) now be turned into votes.
Demonstrators in New York, January 21st, 2017
Until then, we cannot forget the first actions of our new President. How he attacked our LGBT friends or the environment. Or learning a day later that the National Park system’s leadership was banned from using social media after publishing pictures of Washington’s Mall, the park it oversees between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capital, that compared Trump’s Inauguration day with that of President Obama’s eight years earlier. Or any of the disturbing, terrible things that we will likely witness over the next four years.
National Park Service retweets comparison of Obama and Trump inauguration
Let us use all of these things to motivate us to work hard to make progress and positive changes wherever possible within our own communities. Speak up. Speak out. And when it comes to the environment remember that science trumps politics.
Let us use these events to register to vote and then to voice our views by turning out to express ourselves in record numbers.
That’s my plan.
To work hard to make a positive difference wherever possible while fighting for what’s right and fixing what’s broken. I do hope that you will join me and, while you are at it, please bring a friend or two, we can use all of the help we can find.
Together we can do great things in this amazing place called the United States of America. And along the way when you suffer from doubt or fear or shed a tear, please think of those patriotic people that marched all over the world yesterday. They are my inspiration and this is my plan.