I have been blessed with two phenomenal nieces. These young women are poised and articulate, intelligent and compassionate, creative and hard-working, grounded and well-rounded. They have merciful souls that see the invisible people of society, courageous hearts to advocate for the disenfranchised, and a keen awareness that they can change the world and need to do so. Having traveled the world, they have a global perspective of our interconnectedness that gives me hope for our shared future.
A few months ago, at age 15 and 17, they traveled alone to Mexico to spend a month of their summer break volunteering at an orphanage. This was typical for them and followed years of them advocating for safe food, supporting literacy for girls, fighting child slavery in Africa, and setting up programs for refugees at their school. They serve as student leaders, intern at the state capital and a hospital, and work to earn the money they invest in themselves and others. They are club leaders, social advocates, athletes, and top students… as well as regular teens navigating the sometimes turbulent waters of growing up.
I am regularly amazed by their vivacity and joy, love to watch them interacting with the world and to hear their perspectives on life. In this regard, one of my nieces recently wrote an essay that was picked up by PBS and serves as a challenge to all voting adults. Regardless of her relation to me, Lily’s writing is something that needs to be shared and read and discussed and acted on. Please consider reading her piece at https://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/student-voices/student-voice-how-gun-violence-has-made-students-carry-a-great-deal-of-fear-of-school/ Thanks!