This is a speech I wrote for a protest rally today, November 14, which sadly I am not able to present at due to the high submission rate.
The day after the presidential election I didn’t want to go to school. If I hadn’t had work I would have stayed home. The campus was eerily quiet and somber. There were people but no voices. That day I heard four different fire trucks rush through Tucson. I had no idea where they were going, but their sirens filled the air with fear.
Protests have arisen across the country, but we must not spread the same fear and intimidation that we’ve felt. Instead our voices must come out from the shadows of this election to protect our rights and the rights of all those around us. Our job now, and for the next four years, is to support the people and organizations that represent immigrants, refugees, veterans, abortion and contraception rights, sexual assault victims, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, women, Jews, and every person whose human rights have been threatened or violated by our government and its citizens. No one should fear being physically or verbally harassed when they step outside.
This election is over, and many of us may not be happy, but we must also respect the position of the presidency and be open to negotiation. We do not have to like the president elect. We can disagree with his and other’s policies. We can be angry. We can be sad. We can be scared. But we must never become closed-minded, for the moment we stop listening and refuse to hear what others have to say is the day we lose. If our president fails our country fails, so we must not fail.
I encourage you to sit down with someone with different views than you and discuss issues, not candidates. I encourage you not just to hear but understand the other person. I encourage you to express your opinion in a calm matter, taking your time to congregate and express your thoughts. I encourage you, no matter how impossible it feels, to reach middle ground. This is what we must do to progress.
Our state representatives must hear our voice, our governors must hear our voice, and our president must hear our voice. Your voice matters, my voice matters, our voice matters.
November 13, 2016