This is the winning piece in our Teens Against Trump essay contest. Read more essays from the series here.
The fact that African-American women were not fully enfranchised until the 1960s makes my participation as a first-time voter in the upcoming presidential election that much more meaningful. It is because of the tireless work and dedication of civil rights and suffrage leaders such as Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and so many others, that my voice, both as a woman and as an African-American, is heard. It's because of them I get to choose who represents me in the government. Because of them, I can petition to add, change, or repeal laws. It is because of them that I, and so many other Americans, get to cast a vote for president on November 8, 2016.
As I'm watching the presidential campaign unfold, it completely baffles me how far Republican front-runner Donald Trump has gotten in the race for the White House. With everything he has said about people with disabilities, immigrants, and many others, he should have been out of the running a long time ago. But here we are, heading into the primaries and his campaign is thriving. I know for a fact I don't want myself, or anyone else, to live in Trump's version of America.
My future is pretty bleak in Donald Trump's America. I don't see how I, and many others with the same financial situation, can afford or can continue to afford to go to college. Affordable and accessible healthcare for women? Forget about it! Will Black lives matter? Probably not. And World War III would most likely become a reality.
Looking at the Trump campaign, I have so many questions. How can someone propose to block or ban certain religious and ethnic groups from the country? How can someone mock women and disabled people for their appearances? How can someone say that they could shoot someone in the middle of the street, and lose no support? How can so many people rally behind this type of evil?
But what scares me the most is that, after Trump's term as president is over and done, what will be left of our country? When he and his generation have passed on, what type of America will be left for me? For the generations after?
I will say that the one and only good thing to come from Trump and his blind followers is that they are encouraging people, not only in America, but all over the world, to play more active roles in their government and to get out and vote. We the people have the power to make a difference in this country and it begins at the polls. Because after all is said and done, if Trump becomes president, it's on us.
Do you know what will make America great? Building bridges, not walls. Embracing our neighbors of different religions, cultures, and ethnicities with open arms. Creating opportunities for all Americans. Protecting the environment. Affordable healthcare and education. Open-mindedness. Moving forward.
That makes America great.