Use Your Voice To Be A Part Of Change

With Your Young Voice, You Can Be A Part Of The Change Happening Too

We all have a voice, it's time to use them.

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In the world we live in today, there are countless issues every day that divide us and bring out strong thoughts and emotions while shaking us to the core. With a truly scary world out there, there's never been a better time than now to value the importance of your voice.

For me, writing has always been my outlet, my way of articulating what I think about the issues plaguing society. However, this was not always the case. For a long time, I never thought my voice or opinion really mattered in the grand scheme of things or that it could impact the bigger picture. But what I've come to discover over the past few years, especially in the recent months, is that every single person's voice has inexplicable power and has the potential to even start a movement.

On February 14, my home and my world changed. The sense of innocence was taken from my hometown of Parkland, Florida when a barrage of bullets took the lives of 17 innocent people. But with that devastation and unexplainable loss arose a power: the power of youth. In the aftermath, the students of Stoneman Douglas came together and demanded a change and gave rise to the March For Our Lives moment.

Over the past few months, we have seen and heard the youth of this country, and all over the globe, demand to be heard and to make it clear their voices deserve to be heard. The students from Douglas started a revolution. They showed youth from all over the globe that they matter and that their words have power.

In seeing the strength and resilience of those kids, I felt empowered to use my own voice to be a part of the change. Through writing, I have explained my beliefs, my desires, and my longing for a better world, a safer world. I have connected with friends and family over our shared ideas and our difference of opinions, too. I've gotten to see first-hand what my words can do, and what they can be a part of. And I won't let that die.

In the age of technology, it is so easy to speak up. We have writing, videos, pictures, and so many different ways to let our thoughts reign free. The possibilities are endless.

This generation is a force to be reckoned with. We have demanded a spot at the table and embraced our biggest power – our ability to so effortlessly and effectively convey what we are thinking. And to top it all off, we can fit that into 140 characters or less if needed.

Don't let anyone ever tell you that your opinion doesn't matter or that it isn't important because you're a kid, or that you haven't lived enough yet, or that you don't know what you're talking about and to let the adults deal with it. That's what we've done in the past, and the issues that have been a problem in our society are still there.

The key ingredient that's been missing is the creativity and determination of the world's youth standing up to fight for what they believe in.

We all have a voice, so it's time you use yours, too.

I know I will continue to use my words for good, for change. I am making the most of my power because I now realize what I have to say and what I believe in matters. I know my words can make a real difference in the world. And so can yours. Embrace your power and change the world.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

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Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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