November 7th will be two years since the day I woke up in 2016 shocked to learn that Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States.
The news was so devastating, the threat it represented (since manifested) to our environment and to the decency of America, so profound that it brought me to tears. Yes, I will admit that I cried often that day and the two days that followed. And I can tell you that I was not alone. Many of my friends and acquaintances were also in shock and tears and it was not the “good” type of shock that happens when you first eat a bite of freezing cold ice cream, but the pain of the loss of a loved one. Like when my grandmother, Grandby, passed. It was simply horrible.
November 2016 was a very cruel month but it was also an educational time for me too. It taught me that politics is dirty and filled with surprises and that, yes, some of them are painful and confusing. How could science, decency and honesty not be embraced by voters?
November 2016 was also motivational for me in a way that only fear can truly motivate. The fear that our environment would be sold and destroyed by those only interested in living in the past, supporting the politics of polluters and developed until nothing was left is, to say the least, motivational. The fear that women would be marginalized or worse (and as it turns out, it was far worse than I could have guessed at 17 years of age).
And so it has been two years since those tears fell and the shock that had set in turned into anger and then to motivation. I could not vote in 2016, but now I can. And I most certainly will.
With the United States 2018 election now upon us I want you to know that I’ve tried very hard to encourage people to vote. Like really, really hard.
I’ve written more blogs, attended more rallies, supported and consulted with and for more prominent candidates than I can recall. These last two years have been a blur of talks and speeches and writing and videos and nearly all of it has been centered on trying to motivate others to help me fix what’s broken. To take back this land of yours and mine. Much of that work has happened between classes, at night and on weekends and none of it do I regret. In fact, the social sacrifices or what-not that I’ve made are small compared to the importance of what we face on November 6th and beyond.
The responses I’ve received from people all over the world to my blogs and other posts not only means a great deal to me but inspires me. To those that have forwarded or reposted my work by the now tens of thousands, or those hundreds of thousands that that have read them, thank you.
To the esteemed people and organizations that believe my little voice means something, thank you. To The Years Project and David Gelber, as well as Joel Bach, Kiara Richardson, Joshua Futtersak and Karen Shakerdge, thank you for caring enough to come to Miami to film and then post a video that 811,000 people and counting have viewed. If you’ve not seen or shared it please consider doing so today: https://www.facebook.com/YearsOfLiving/videos/979016338965704/.
To Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer from Pod Save America, and to HBO Television, thank you for featuring youth activists in your premier show last month, myself included, and for exposing our concerns about the importance of this election to your millions of viewers and followers. And speaking of ice cream, thanks for hosting our segment at Dasher & Crank, and for the amazing treats they serve.
And to The Sierra Club, Darren Aronofsky and Sandy Haddad, thank you for believing that 14 other kids and I have something worthy to say and sharing our message in such an artistic way with now millions of views much less some pretty cool tags from the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Amy Schumer, Barbra Streisand, and everyone else. If you’ve not seen Darren’s videos of my friends and me for The Sierra Club, for you really, please consider checking these two out as a start:
I’ve only recently become old enough to vote but I’ve done everything I can think of these last two years to make a difference. To inspire and motivate others to vote, especially youth. To fight back.
It’s your turn.
I understand that we are all busy with school, work, family and on and on. I understand that the weather could be an issue (excuse?) and that traffic sucks. But I also understand that voting is not only our right but our obligation and I need you to please make it a priority this year. I have seen and heard from thousands of people these last two years and what I have seen mostly is the pain and confusion you felt, as did I, on November 6th, 2016. I’ve stopped counting the number of people who have asked me “what can I do, Delaney?.”
The answer is simple.
Don’t suffer in silence.