We are living in a volatile time. Most people who have been following the election on any level probably knew there would be some issues no matter who was elected the next President of the United States: whether it was Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton or GOP candidate Donald Trump, a large chunk of the population was going to be upset. Regardless, I don't think anyone understood just how passionately the youth of this country would react to Donald Trump's victory in the polls. To get a true sense of how frustrated young voters are, just take a look at photos of student protests against Trump floating around Twitter this week. They are committed, they are passionate... and they aren't ready to simply accept the outcome just yet.
On Monday, not even one full week after Trump's surprising win in the presidential election on Nov. 8, students across the country walked out of their schools in protest. In Los Angeles, California, as well as Oregon and Maryland, students walked out of their classrooms carrying signs that read "Rise Up" and "Together We Stand." Anti-Trump protests have been sweeping the nation since Trump was elected, with people gathering in New York City, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Columbia, South Carolina. High school students have joined the protests, despite the fact that some of them are not yet old enough to vote, because, as 14-year-old Salvador Briseno told The San Francisco Chronicle,
We hope to get our rights and just get our freedom. We want less racism, stop the violence, all of that.
While most protesters understand and acknowledge, even at their young age, that these demonstrations will most likely not change the fact that Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, they are invested in making a strong statement against Trump's alleged history of sexual aggression with women, and against his racist rhetoric, directed at Muslims and Hispanics in particular. These students are worried not simply for their own future, but for the future of anyone living outside of Trump's loose description of what constitutes a "true" American. In Washington D.C., students carried signs with slogans like, "climate change is not a hoax", and "my body, my choice." Pearl Strand, a 17-year-old high school senior, told The Washington Post:
We are a diverse school and accepting environment, and we feel the Trump administration is going to try and divide us. We are protesting to show we are united.
Passion is a beautiful thing. Apathy is not. Whether you agree with these students or not, it doesn't really matter. All that matters is that they want their voices to be heard. That they are speaking up not only for themselves but for anyone who might feel victimized by any racist or sexist backlash they believe might be a by-product of a Trump presidency.
What matters is that they're living in a country that is meant to embrace their right to care, and to be as loud and audacious in their caring as they please.