I don’t think anyone will forget the summer of 2020. Some people would like to forget it, but it will forever be part of our country’s history, and our history as individuals.
People will ask you someday: “Where were you during the pandemic?” “Where were you when the protests happened?”
This is even more true when it comes to teenagers and young adults who are witnessing events across our country through the fresh lens of youth. Unlike adults, they have the ability to see solutions that are not tainted by historical failures, but are instead based on the belief that real change is always possible despite those failures.
Just like children—our country, our state, our communities are going through growing pains. We are navigating a one-hundred-year health crisis that has led to illness, death, economic devastation, isolation and despair. Now, we are in the middle of sweeping protests across the country demanding chronically overdue change in the way black people are treated in America. As my daughters constantly remind me—it’s not enough say you believe in equality, you have to practice it and demand that others practice it as well.
So, imagine being a young person in this climate—how does being on the precipice of adulthood at this time in history change your direction, re-purpose your goals, your ideals, your hopes and dreams? For one thing, in my lifetime I have never seen more young people who are socially conscious and engaged in discourse about racial equality and basic human rights. I hope it leads to a generation of thoughtful individuals who will lead us into a better world—a place where we don’t just say things, but we mean them and live by them.
Despite the pain our country is experiencing, it has never been a better time to be young, because young people now have the opportunity to change to narrative. They wield a collective power on social media that cannot be rivaled by adults. We are all responsible for being agents of change, but young people have the stage right now.
So, I say to my daughters, their friends, and other young people, go for it. You’ve got the megaphone. Decide who you want to be, what you stand for, and what kind of world you want to live in and make it happen.
And then, we will follow, we will follow, we will follow …
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.