Watching Change: A Story of How Youths Can Inspire a New Future
As a little girl, I had a habit of checking my body every few months to see what had changed. As a teenager, I would ‘people watch’ with my grandmother. Seeing what shifts around us as we stay still and the world moves on.
As an adult, I spoke at the state capitol and the white house, actively watching and shaping change, learning that the life I had lived could help others have a much more human time. One where they felt valued, not attacked for living when it’s already an achievement to do so.
Politics is a source of division in the world; as a teen, I thought there was no way to get along with someone who thought differently than I did. After hearing stories and seeing people behind policies, I realized that we may be opposed to policies, but almost all of us in the world are trying to make it better.
I was once a part of an amazing organization called Young Invincibles, they taught me that stories and individual voices matter. No one can give your story like you can, because of them I found there is a value in screaming so others must hear. In a whisper that shakes a room and in a story that shaped your world. I spoke to lawmakers about the need for hygiene products to not have an extra tax, commonly referred to as the Pink Tax, associated with them any longer. Spoke to the costs and hardships of being a teacher and how the unpaid practicum blocks diversity in the field.
I testified over 15 times at the local state capitol and was honored to be invited to give insight on disability twice in DC. I was able to see the signing of RHEA, The Reproductive Health Equity Act. I was able to whisper my truth to people who valued my experience and my opinions. I was able to grow as a person as I heard opposing opinions I had never considered being stated with such conviction I learned that we all fight for what we believe shapes the best future for those around us.
The first time I stood in front of a room to speak on my experience I spoke to being homeless. To the stark reality of choosing whether I ate or I was clean enough to be accepted by people around me. Being homeless is a problem of being seen as human. As worth enough for the help you desperately need to be given, without people thinking you earned your pain. It was one of the most empowering and vulnerable moments I’ve had one that made me re-examine how much a person can change the world around them. When people ask why I do politics I always think back to that moment and say it to speak for those who can’t yet find a way to speak for themselves.