About 42% of American adults did not vote in the 2016 general election.
While that’s a huge chunk of people not exercising their right to vote, there's an even bigger population of folks with an opinion and stakes in the election, yet no significant impact. Who? The youth.
Since Donald Trump was announced as president-elect, protests have erupted all around the United States. Especially vocal have been youth activists whose future has been decided for them, and not really in a good way. Now, they are trying to make sure their voices are heard.
In DC, thousands of students walked out of class, marched around the city in solidarity, and yelled catchy and powerful chants against Trump.
They first marched to Trump International Hotel, then went to the Capitol, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and White House, in order to rally against the president-elect.
The rally was originally organized by Woodrow Wilson High School’s Human Rights Club, and the word spread through social media and the DC high school circuit.
A new organization, Youth Blackout DC, helped rally students from their school for the protest and talked to Konbini about their activism.
Started by students from Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Youth Blackout DC seeks to "amplify the youth’s voice, through writing, protesting, and a new video series," said Grace Dolan-Sandrino, one of the co-founders of the organization who started it with friends Zahri Jackson and Shane Royster.
Grace, an 11th-grade transgender woman who is gaining notoriety as an activist in the LGBTQ community, shared why Youth Blackout DC participated in the protest:
"We’re not protesting to reverse the President-Elect. We know that’s not going to happen most likely.
We are protesting to let him know we didn’t have a voice, we didn’t get to vote, and if we could have, he would not have been president.
We do not want you, Donald Trump, but we’re going to hold you accountable for all the of actions that you take in office. And we hope that your term will be a short one."
Other students who participated in the protest shared similar sentiments. America’s teens want to be heard. Here are their voices in words and pictures (the students quoted below are from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts):
"We're voicing the concerns that we have, and our concerns are similar to the ones adults have. But, I feel like protesting shows that we’re braver. We’re trying to be innovative, effective, just stretching our intelligence – that’s what we're doing," – Kayla Rosemond, 10th grade.
"The protest gave a lot of the youth hope. If so much youth showed up, it must've meant something. It showed me everybody cares. I was thinking this is something only I'm struggling with... But it showed me that 6,000 other students are frustrated by this man," – Leslie Gutierrez, 10th grade.
"The point was to show how much unity can be achieved and how much young people care about America. The fact that we’re not allowed to vote and 92-year-olds can is kind of unfair.
People assume we’re immature and we don’t care about it. I am not only opposed to all of Donald Trump’s policies, but his hatred for immigrants is something that hits pretty hard because I come from a family of immigrants," – Sofia Herburger, 9th grade.
"I went to the march to show that my voice in this election matters and I won’t be silenced by our racist homophobic president-elect," – Ira Lindsay, 11th grade.
"He’s the one who will determine our lives for the next four years if he’s in the office for that long. Trump shouldn’t have anything to do with politics. He should stick to entrepreneurship," – Kellen Alfaro, 10th grade.
"I just want to say that it was very empowering and motivating. It’s keeping my hope alive. I feel like this little protest, which really turned into a march, will let us have a voice. It was very well organized, and I’m proud of us as the youth for taking back our future," – Sabira Muhammad, 10th grade.