When I voted early last Tuesday, I hoped and prayed for change. I hoped to see officials get elected into office that made me feel safe, that made me feel hopeful, that made me proud of the country I live in.
Unfortunately, the majority of voters in Florida let me and many others down. It was a tight race between Democrats and Republicans and although my county helped support the blue candidates, we came up shy and the majority of our new officials remain in the GOP.
The problem is that older generations still have a hold on the state and until the younger people begin rising up when their age supports it, we will continue treading red waters. You would think after losing 17 people from a shooting in Parkland in February and two women just last week at a senseless yoga studio shooting in Tallahassee, people would open their eyes and see the need for legislative change, but unfortunately, many choose to remain blind. Even though these killings happened in their state, until these individuals see the firsthand pain and damage of loved ones losing loved ones from gun violence, they will never understand the full extent of the frustration.
I have listened to the screams of agony that survivors double over with as they beg for change. I listen to their words as they travel across the country demanding change, for not only themselves but the future of America. I listen because I care.
So although I am deeply frustrated with the now-elected officials who will not support the needs of everyday people, I will remain hopeful. On the bright side, Amendment 4 passed, which will allow 1.4 million people to vote in the state of Florida now as it grants these people with former felony charges the ability to partake in elections. I see a wave of change happening in this state during the next election, and just after we did in the 2016 election, we will wait. We will work together and harder to get our people in office. We're taking sweeping steps in that direction. We just have to stay strong, patient, and determined until our time comes.
When I read the news to see the progress the rest of the country is making, my heart begins to lift and my eyes begin to widen. We have Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman elected into Congress; Ilhan Omar, the first Muslin woman elected into Congres and the first to wear her hijab in office; and Jared Polis, the first openly gay man elected governor. We have a tidal wave of "first people" elected this midterm election, so instead of feeling disappointed in my white, male-dominated state, I feel pride for the rest of my country. These new officials are reflecting the minority groups across our melting pot of a nation. Voices are beginning to be listened to, and although the same progress is not happening in Florida, this is only one state out of 50.
Soon enough, this southern state will be flooded with blue and the underdogs will begin to be heard again.
If you feel defeated this election, don't be. Change is among us and although you may not be in a state to feel that impact, you will someday when the people of your home begin to see the necessary changes that need be had. Fight for what you believe in. Use your voice and begin campaigning as soon as you can to push the people you believe in to the frontline.
Here's to democracy, ladies and gentlemen. Let's do this.