Dear Leaders of America,

I am a white, cisgender, middle class college student living in the Midwest. I am a liberal, feminist, ally, and I stand for equality and justice for all people. I’ve been researching the situation in Charlottesville that unfolded about a month ago, and I have some things that I’d like to share with you.

As a young adult in America, I am surrounded by diversity of person and thought. I was raised and have it engrained in my mind that this diversity is beautiful and valued, and is what makes America great. I have always been told to never judge a person based on something they can’t control – like their race, ethnicity, class, gender, etc. To hear of the hate and violence in Charlottesville by white supremacist groups goes against my very being and everything I have ever learned. It confuses and scares me to live in a world where people 1) feel this way about their fellow Americans, and 2) feel as though they can say and act on these feelings without and worry of punishment or repercussions for their actions. I am disgusted by the lack of response, and, really, backbone displayed by the “leadership” (I use this term lightly) in Washington. If children are taught to promote peace and love, and to care for one another, why can’t our government lead by example and try to instill this ideal into our severely broken country?

Our priority, as a country, should be to fix ourselves. We are broken, divided, and tired, and the buffoon in power is doing nothing to help that. He is only causes further division and polarization, which will lead to the demise of this great country I call home. We need to focus on racism and what systematic racism is and looks like. We need to focus on promoting kindness and hospitality to each other and those who need our help. We need to focus on being decent human beings who support each other and embody what it means to be an American.

I would suggest that our biggest problem is with our leadership. We need to do a much better job of encouraging everyone – young, old, black, white – to VOTE. We as a society are so fed up with our president, yet we are the ones that put him there. We need to be the change we wish to see.

I hope for an America where people don’t need to walk down the street and be afraid for their lives because of how they look. I want to live in a world where those in positions of power and privilege are held accountable for their actions and words. I wish for an America where love has trumped hate.

Start leading by example and make America great for ALL people.

Signed,

K.A.

 

CC BY-SA 4.0 America was already great… What happened? by Kristin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Comment Here

9 Comments
  1. Jasmnika 11 months ago

    Kristin, Thank you for being an ally. I have spoken with many white people who do not see an issue with the way the country is dealing with this issues. They also don’t view them as issues. It breaks my heart to know that there are people who are not affected by the deaths of hundreds of blacks at the hands of police and white supremacists. I think the issue is that kids are not being taught to love in general, they are being taught to love what looks like them, acts like them, and talks like them. And if it is anything other than that they are taught to hate it. We cant change the world until we reconstruct the REAL principles that it was built on.

  2. Austin 12 months ago

    Dear Kristin,

    This letter is so wonderfully written. I could not agree more with what you are saying. These white supremacists also go against everything I was taught as a child. My parents rose above my hate-filled town and taught their children to love all people regardless of our differences. My parents instilled the idea that all people deserve respect and equality. I agree that this weak “leadership” has had the poorest reaction to the Charlottesville situation and it will continue to have poor reactions to racism. I agree that we need to start from within and fix ourselves; setting standard in place to ward off racism and hate of any kind. Our country was already great, we were beginning to come together, that’s when our nation will truly be great, not when we are divided into different classes, races, etc., but when we are in unity.

  3. Brandom 12 months ago

    Dear Kristin,

    I am shocked that you said that america was already great, when in reality it never was. We can’t call america great because it was never discovered. In fact, there were people already living there even before Christopher Columbus discovered it.

    One sentence you wrote that stands out to me is: “Our priority, as a country, should be to fix ourselves. We are broken, divided, and tired, and the buffoon in power is doing nothing to help that”. I think this is a great sentence about your opinions and the way you feel about a problem because I can read your emotion and passion that you have about your country.

    Another sentence that I loved was: “I would suggest that our biggest problem is with our leadership. We need to do a much better job of encouraging everyone – young, old, black, white – to VOTE”. This stood out to me because you’re not encouraging just one group to vote, you’re encouraging everyone who is over 18 to vote.

    Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next.

    Sincerely,
    Brandom Gamez

  4. Anna 12 months ago

    Kristin, I feel that I am coming from a very similar position. When you said, ” I was raised and have it engrained in my mind that this diversity is beautiful and valued, and is what makes America great”, I connected to it because that’s how I was raised. You addressed some very key things, the last and probably most important is that we as people have the power to vote, we have the opportunity to push our country and move it towards greatness for all. Though, your language when addressing Trump is abrasive and for argument sake, you may want to tone that down so the opposing side doesn’t feel attacked and discredit you. From the first source I’m going to give you (https://hbr.org/2017/05/research-political-polarization-is-changing-how-americans-work-and-shop) “45% of Republicans and 41% of Democrats think the other party is so dangerous that it is a threat to the health of the nation,” so people will discredit you based off of your political beliefs. Now, for some background, the other site is a little old, it came out in 2014 and I think it’s important to show that this polarization isn’t a new occurrence and is a deep rooted problem that is only going to grow unless it’s addressed. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/06/12/7-things-to-know-about-polarization-in-america/
    Hopefully you found something interesting in my sites and different from the other one’s you got. I think that your piece has a lot of potential and am excited to see where you take it.

  5. NIki 12 months ago

    Dear Kristin,
    I completely agree with everything you said in this article. It was well written and organized and really addressed the fact that we are doing little to nothing to fix the problems that we are encountering because of the hate that people have towards people they dont know. I agree that we need better leadership and too be examples of love and not hate if anything is going to get better. I think voting is vital to getting any change, but as of now its not an election so I would be interested in hearing what else you think we could do to help other than voting and being an example ourselves. This is an link to a thing I read a while back that got me to understand more about the importance of voting when I didnt think my vote really mattered. http://lifestyle.allwomenstalk.com/this-is-why-we-all-need-to-vote-for-those-who-are-18-but-hesitant-about-elections I really hope that America can overcome all the hate that we’ve been dealing with lately. Thank you for sharing your opinion on the subject.

  6. Emma 12 months ago

    Hi Kristin,
    I am in total agreement of what you’ve written. When you propose that we need to be encouraging people to vote, I think it’s necessary to also emphasize education. Voter participation is extremely important, but having educated voters is what we should truly strive for, otherwise we will continue having leaders such as our president today. On the topic of our president, his response (or lack there of) to Charlottesville shows exactly how not to educate people. By not vehemently condemning white supremacists and neo-nazis, Trump sends a message that it is acceptable. We need an educated population of educated voters who know not to vote for men who don’t condemn racism.

  7. Annie 12 months ago

    Your argument is very powerful, but I think it would be fruitful to emphasize a less biased point of view. In this way, you may be able to get your point across without offending anyone, and that way maybe those who would typically disagree with your argument might read further into the reasons you chose it. Using strong language and a hard bias in the beginning can often times turn many people away. I think this (https://www.theodysseyonline.com/unbiased-donald-trumps-political-platform) would be a good source to use as an example. It’s difficult, but still possible to engage in an argument without bias while still supporting your own cause. I absolutely agree with your statements, but others may turn the other way because of the forceful language used. However, your argument is well stated. America should be greater for all, not just some, and that means equality, justice, and rights for all, not just the so-called majority.

  8. NIki 12 months ago

    Dear Kristin,
    I completely agree with everything you said in this article. It was well written and organized and really addressed the fact that we are doing little to nothing to fix the problems that we are encountering because of the hate that people have towards people they dont know. I agree that we need better leadership and too be examples of love and not hate if anything is going to get better. I think voting is vital to getting any change, but as of now its not an election so I would be interested in hearing what else you think we could do to help other than voting and being an example ourselves. This is an link to a thing I read a while back that got me to understand more about the importance of voting when I didnt think my vote really mattered. http://lifestyle.allwomenstalk.com/this-is-why-we-all-need-to-vote-for-those-who-are-18-but-hesitant-about-elections I really hope that America can overcome all the hate that we’ve been dealing with lately. Thank you for sharing your opinion on the subject.

  9. Catherine 12 months ago

    Kristin, I think that everything you’re saying absolutely needs to be addressed. One part that stuck out to me specifically was when you mentioned kids being taught peace, love, and care for one another. I do wonder though if our kids are still being taught that. I have cousins in the elementary school system, two of them are still in first grade, the other is in middle school, and I have noticed that they are not the kindest. It may be that I don’t remember being a kid that well, but what I do remember is though there were class bullies it never went as far as what I’ve been seeing today. My older cousin, the seventh grade, has divided people by whether they are “red necks” or “fancy” based solely on their appearance and the way they dress for school. My younger cousin, she’s a girl in third grade, has mentioned that she likes a few girls, but doesn’t want to be friends with them because of how they do their hair. I may have some exceptionally judgmental cousins, but I also wonder if kids today could be starting to lose the affinity for peace, love, and care for one another because they are learning how to behave by example of their parents. Do you think that helping the parents to open their eyes up to peace, love, and care would help children be less judgmental based on appearance, or do you think that kids today have already learned enough from their parents that depending on their age we cannot help show them the good things either. I would be really interested to hear your thoughts on this, and this was not written to criticize your post or diminish what you were saying, it’s just something I observed and am interested to hear your thoughts on. If you’re interested in looking into a parents effect on their children as it relates to your article, I’ve found an article that you could look at https://my.vanderbilt.edu/developmentalpsychologyblog/2014/05/parental-influence-on-the-emotional-development-of-children/

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

CONTACT US

We welcome new members. You can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending

Youth Voices is organized by teachers at local sites of the National Writing Project and in partnership with Educator Innovator.

CC BY-SA 4.0All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Missions on Youth Voices

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account

%d bloggers like this: