How to Create Change

I would like to start out by saying that this blog post is mostly for me. I’ve had a lot of feelings about Donald Trump lately and I usually prefer to express my opinions into writing. Thank you for letting me rant.

In fall 2015, Ben Carson was ahead in the Republican nominee polls. I remember talking to my parents about the 2016 Presidential Election, it seemed so far away. “Y’know, I actually kind of hope Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee,” I told my dad, “it would be like handing the election to Hillary. He’s not gonna win, that would never happen.”

Fast forward to November 8, 2016. I was on Instagram, watching as my friends posted updates on how Donald Trump was ahead. “Don’t worry,” I kept writing, “They’re starting with states Trump’s sure to win. They haven’t even announced California yet and that’s a guaranteed win for Hillary.”

As the night went on I continued to see more states on the map turn red. I eventually blocked out what was going on around me and would occasionally check in, hoping for some good news. I had hope. I had hope that Sue Minter would become Vermont’s second female governor instead of an old, white Republican male, and I had hope that Hillary Rodham Clinton, the most qualified candidate, would become the first female President of the United States. If I’m being honest, I didn’t see the elections ending any other way. It didn’t really even occur to me that Donald Trump could become president.

At 10:30 Donald Trump had over 200 votes and my mom came into the living room, suggesting I go to bed. I put down my computer and looked at the mostly red map on the TV. “Mom,” I asked tentatively, “You don’t think he’s going to win, do you?” She looked at me and let out a sigh. “I think there’s a strong possibility.” I just nodded and went downstairs. I remember feeling slightly emotionless, I wasn’t really sure how to react. As the moments passed, I realized more and more that Hillary might not win. I remember looking in the mirror before I went to sleep and I just started crying. I cried and cried and cried. I cried for all the minorities and woman who feel unsafe because of this man, woman everywhere who face horrific sexism and gender bias, and for my childhood innocence being destroyed because maybe the world isn’t as good as I thought it was.

When I woke up the next morning I saw Donald Trump had won. I bleakly continued with my morning routine, but I didn’t cry. I don’t think I could’ve if I wanted to. I had to come into school early to work on our gender bias surveys and frankly, talking about gender bias was the last thing I wanted to do then. My group member felt the same way, although we dealt with it differently. While he continued to express that we “were all going to die”, I kept my feelings bottled up. I do that a lot actually. I tend to keep how I’m feeling to myself, and then it all comes out at once in a big mess, which I guess is what this blog post is.

While the results of the election relate to the topic of gender bias, I don’t think it affected my actions involving What’s the Story? that much, until January 20. I had pushed the thought of Donald Trump out of my mind. Obama was still president, and for some reason it just didn’t seem possible that Trump could actually become president. I invited a couple of friends over and we just watched YouTube Red, ignoring all that was going on in news, living in denial.

The next day was the women’s march. I did not go to one because I can’t deal with large crowds. As much as I supported it, I could not bring myself to go, it was just too much. As I said earlier I deal better with expressing my feelings in writing. Maybe it’s because when I’m writing my voice is louder. I am braver and can accomplish more. Writing takes me from being a shy girl with social anxiety to someone that can actually make a difference.

After January 21, I realized it’s not my job to go to a march and protest, there are plenty of people who do that and it’s not what I am good at. If I really want to make a difference I have to do what I do best: be behind the scenes and construct something that really inspires others and creates change. While I have yet to appear on-camera at all, even in the b-roll, and don’t intend to be, I feel like what I’m doing is really important. I’m going to be the main editor of the video and plan on taking on a serious role in the final construction of the project my group and I have been working on since November.

I don’t plan on writing about exactly what my group has been doing. If I’m being quite honest, while my group is doing a lot of good work, this topic is on my mind and seems really important right now. As I said before this blog post is mostly for me to express how I’m feeling. I will say we have had many interviews with many people from our school, from the college, and Sue Minter. We have more than enough footage from many intelligent and helpful people and I cannot wait to create our documentary. If you are really curious about the specific progress my group has made, I suggest you look at my group members’, Anna Butuea and Theo Wells-Spackman, blog posts.

This is my second year doing What’s the Story?, and I know the entire point of it is to create change. But what I didn’t know was how. Last year I didn’t create much change, so even as I began What’s the Story? this year, I didn’t know what creating change would consist of. Before I thought it would be going to marches and standing up for what I believe in, in front of and among large crowds. But now, as I sit at my desk writing this blog post I realize where my power lies. I am not supposed to go to rallies, I’m not supposed to give speeches in front of large crowds. I’m supposed to write and express my feelings through the editing of the documentary and the words on our website. I’m supposed to use my own powers to change the world.

Emily Pecsok

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