This weekend was insane. Okay, by weekend I mean Friday-Saturday but still. Insane.
I ended my week with a 7am (6:30am because I’m always early) start time at work to prep for Friday’s Connecticut’s Kid Governor Inauguration. I’ve been helping with this year’s program since August and Friday was the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people. It was an amazing day though.
The Connecticut’s Kid Governor program is a national award-winning civics program for 5th graders created by the Connecticut Public Affairs Network in 2015. Currently in Connecticut and Oregon, fifth graders get the chance to learn about civics hands on. Over the course of the program classes learn about state government and the three branches of government, the role of the governor, and how elections work. Classes who register to nominate a student for their state’s kid governor also learn about identifying community issues, how to research an issue, and how to develop a campaign platform. At the end of the program, the students get to vote on who will be the next kid governor out of seven final candidates. The student selected to be their state’s Kid Governor serves a one year term and works on making a difference in their state based on their platform.
Pretty cool, huh?
Here in Connecticut, this is our third year running the program. This year’s Connecticut’s Kid Governor is the third girl to be elected, which is incredible when you think about it! Megan will be working on raising awareness and improving the lives of those suffering with cancer.
With Friday’s Inauguration of the 2018 Connecticut’s Kid Governor, a room of around 230 students, teachers, staff, family members, and the media got to listen to Megan and the five (one of the final candidates couldn’t attend) final candidates speak. Let me tell you that these kids give you hope for the future. They were all very well spoken and clearly passionate about continuing on in their communities to make a difference from everything from bullying to child poverty and making the elderly feel valued.
You can watch the Inauguration and Media Conference here.
Since the weekend turned into my weekend of civic engagement, I have to say that watching and being a part of Connecticut’s Kid Governor this year blew me out of the water. While so many young people (18-25) seem to want nothing to do with politics or civic engagement, these students inspired me. They were so passionate to make a difference, even if they didn’t win. Each of these fifth graders could teach us all a lesson about being kind and persevering.
The day after the Inauguration was the second-annual Women’s March. Last year, I was lucky enough to join the crowds down in Washington D.C. When I think back to that day, I still get overwhelmed. When things seemed their darkest for this country (and boy of boy have those standards changed in a year!), women gathered to show that we will not let the likes of Donald Trump drag this country backwards. We will not go back. We will not shut up. We are here and ready to fight. It was truly a day that I will never forget.
This year, I stayed closer to home and joined the 10,000 people in front of the Connecticut State Capitol for the Hartford march. While it was a challenge to hear the speakers, it was another inspirational movement. I, as were many others, was nervous about the turn out for this year’s march. Would there still be the momentum to stand out in the cold and march through the snow? The answer was a resounding yes.
Again, I was overwhelmed by how many people had gathered to tell the president and all those who oppose equality that their time is up. There were women and men from all walks of life holding up signs saying how they disagree with everything this administration has done. There were little girls holding up signs saying that if Trump builds that wall, their generation will tear it down. Young boys held signs high in the air saying that “Boy Will Be Decent Human Beings”. Through all of the Aww-ing at the young protesters, you had to give a nod of appreciation towards the parents for how they were raising their children.
As the day went on, we talked to women old and young and took in the sights and sounds of the day. Leaving the march, I felt a new sense of empowerment. There is still a fight ahead for the soul of the United States. I’m happy that I’ll be on the side of light and hope.
I could go into more of the weekend but I’m still trying to process everything. So, instead, here are my take aways.
- The Future is Female– Between swearing in the third female Kid Governor, the majority of the candidates for Kid Governor being female along with the reports from Emily’s List that there are 26,000 women running for office in 2018, things are going to change. The future is for the females. Women are who bring change and make a difference. Of course, they can not do it alone but by supporting each other, we will all rise and together we will create the future we want.
- There is a light in the darkness– It can be easy when you watch the news all of the time to think that the sky is falling. There seems to be very few consequences for those in charge when they do wrong. Being at the women’s march was a reminder that accountability is not lost. Those who are against progress and equality will be held accountable in the end. The movement has not faded or receded. The movement is only growing.
- Diversity in the ONLY way to make America great– When I was at the Connecticut’s Kid Governor Inauguration, I saw a sea of engaged students of all kinds. I saw a room full of diversity. A room full of students from different races, religions, socio-economic backgrounds and ideas. Know what, they were all getting along. They were talking to each other. They were having civil discourse, no matter what it was they were talking about. At the Women’s March, there was a sea of women, men, teens, children from every imaginable background. There were Communists and Democratic Socialists talking with Democrats and Independents and, yes, even a few fed up Republicans. There was discourse about making sure that women of color were invited to the table and making sure that white women show up even when there aren’t pussy hats involved. This weekend I saw a future full of diversity and it was beautiful.
- Do Not Let Them Hijack Our Story– The morning of the Women’s March, Trump did what he always does and tried to make it about him. He tried to make it seem like the thousands, if not millions, of women throughout the country and world were celebrating him and the “milestones” he has created for women. The news seemed to be highlight that more than the actual march. We can’t let him or anyone hijack our story. The Women’s March does not celebrate Trump. The Women’s March celebrates women. Celebrates intersectional feminism. Celebrates the rise of women. Celebrates coming together. Yes, many of the women their made their disdain for Trump perfectly clear but he is not the only reason we were there. Tell your story. Don’t let anyone change it for their own gain.
Did you attend a Women’s March this weekend? Tell me about your experience!
Check out more stories and pictures from the Hartford Women’s March below: