After an election that left both sides tired and struggling to see what is ahead, I hope all Americans see 2017 as a time to begin again.
At 14, I watch what is happening around me but I have decided not to worry. Our history tells me that this country and its citizens are bigger than any one person, any tragedy, or any event. We are a people who have withstood injustice and ignorance. We are a country who has shown the world over and over again that we are good, and fair, and that we fight for what is right and for those who don’t have a voice.
Even as a young person, I see the violence and the hate and I cannot ignore what I see. I can’t stand silent to students being brutalized in schools or people being killed in our streets and I won’t turn my head to people in need.
But, I also won’t let fear get in the way of me doing my part to be a part of a better country and a braver world. I am going to wake up every morning with a focus on being kind and looking for a way to help someone, anyone have a better day.
I am not counting on someone else to make my community or America better. Instead, I am counting on every one of us. I am challenging you to look for the good in the people around you. I am asking you to give your neighbor the benefit of the doubt. Forgive. Look for solutions instead of blame. Volunteer to help make someone’s life better knowing it will bring the most change to your own. Invite someone to lunch that you totally disagree with and listen. Share your smile and be grateful for the blessings in your life.
And, when we get scared by the horrors that creep into our world, let us stand together. We are bigger than anything bad. I am going to live my days looking at the beauty around me and knowing I can bring more of into the world.
We have many challenges ahead of us — but we always have. Let’s celebrate what is great and let’s work together to change what is not.