Moving Forward: A Message To Americans
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Moving Forward: A Message To Americans

A message to Americans in the wake of the 2016 election results

Moving Forward: A Message To Americans
Alexandra Harris

Wednesday was a day of mourning for many of us. For half of the voters in this election, in fact.

I don’t think that I will ever forget the feeling of tremendous, tremendous loss that plagued me when I woke up Wednesday morning and watched Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. I don’t think that I will ever forget the sounds of my classmates’ sobs in the hallways, terrified of their family’s or their own deportation, of the possibility of electroshock therapy, of the risk that wearing a hijab or simply the color of their skin in public now posed to their safety. I don’t think that I will ever forget.

Towards the end of the day, however, something inside of me shifted. I realized that being angry and upset could only do so much. I realized that it was up to me to keep moving forward. No matter who you voted for, it is up to all of us to keep moving forward.

Two months ago, I wrote my first article for The Odyssey Online about Brock Turner and America’s spiraling issue of rape culture. I called for real, political action to fix the problem. I realize, now, that this was not enough. We can sit in front of our laptops or on our cell phones and draft as many articles or Facebook posts or tweets that we want, but at a certain point we have to stop calling for action and instead take action.

Change starts from the ground-up. It starts on the buses of Montgomery, Alabama. It starts at a convention in Seneca Falls, New York. It starts at the Stonewall Inn and the streets of Greenwich Village. Time and again, change in the United States was inspired by the everyday men and women who chose to take action rather than just call for it.

So, today, I ask that you join me in taking action and inspiring change from the ground-up. I ask that you take whatever feeling the election generated within you – whether that be sadness, anger or maybe even happiness – and channel it into aiding a cause that you believe in. I ask that you remember that it is up to us – the everyday men and women – to fight and fight hard for the changes that we wish to see implemented.

Finally, I ask that you spread love and kindness in your day-to-day lives. This election made it abundantly clear that our country is divided, as it has oftentimes been in the past. I strongly believe that it is not hatred or anger that will bring us back together again, but kindness, understanding and, of course, hard work.

I want to one day look my kids in the eye and not only tell them that I will never forget the grief and the loss that I felt on Wednesday, but also that I will never forget the generous and hardworking people who didn’t let the election define them, who worked tirelessly day after day to inspire kindness and change.

To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “peace has its victories but it takes brave men and women to win them.”

Let’s go win them.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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