by Kinsey Phipps

This past year was a year of trials and challenges to many across the world. It was the year I got involved with politics, and I began to be informed. Going into the election, I had strong beliefs, hopes and opinions. Here’s the catch: I am 17 years old. I was a mere 11 months away from being able to vote for the leader of this nation. I watched as my elders decided the fate of the country for the next four years.

As the election drew closer, all I did was pray. I prayed for all citizens, men, women, children, and members of all ethnicities, religions and beliefs. The morning of Wednesday, Nov. 8, reality set in. I was scared, sad and overwhelmed with emotions. I walked the halls of my high school, watching as people sported their “Make America Great Again” apparel in excitement.

My mind and heart were at ease for awhile, as I was looking at the situation with a positive outlook. I hoped everything would work out, and the new president would do our country well. Friday, Jan. 20 was a day I will never forget, either. I was sitting in science class, the inauguration playing on the projector. I listened as our President gave his speech. I listened as he insulted the previous leaders of our country. My stomach turned, and I became fearful again. I was fearful, but I was still hopeful.

The next day something wonderful happened, The Women’s March on Washington. Only, this wasn’t just on Washington; it was worldwide. Over 2,000,000 people peacefully marched for rights of ALL people on our President’s first day in office, challenging his words, “You will never be ignored again.”

The day after the march, my Facebook was flooded with people who were genuinely angry about the protest. This perplexed me. I didn’t understand why so many people were so angered by a peaceful protest, exercising Constitutional rights. I understand why people would be in disagreement about some of the ideas the protest was fighting for; there will always be differences of opinions. So why were people continually insulting those who chose to stand up for their beliefs?

Maybe those individuals didn’t understand why the march happened, at all. The following are a few of the reasons: Equal pay for equal work, LGBT rights, reproductive rights, immigrants, people of diverse religion and ethnicities, and attention to environmental issues. Our President has either threatened or ignored every one of those causes and more.

That is why the Women’s March occurred. Those reasons are why millions worldwide felt the need to stand up for what they believe is right. I applaud all who were brave enough to make their voices heard.

No one is wishing for the President to fail. If his true wish is to give America back to its people, he will honor that promise and call attention to everyone’s concerns, not just his own.