Graphic courtesy of Samantha Ceballos/The Paisano

Empowerment is for everyone. No one person or group should be treated as though they do not deserve to succeed or move up in the world. We are all worthy of feeling empowered because we all matter.

Empowerment is not meant to isolate certain groups while making others feel more powerful. Our words and actions mean a lot, and it is our responsibility to make everyone feel like they are worth something—because everyone is.

We are living in a divided society that is fighting for many rights and securities. We are looking out for ourselves and not for one another. Now more than ever, it is important we come together and empower one another to reach a level of unity we have never had.

Our words should not attack others who are not like us. Our thoughts should not be filled with division and hatred. The future is in our hands, and it is time we see a change through an empowered and united people.

Movements have evolved throughout decades, but the goal to empower oppressed and marginalized people is still the center of the fight. Each movement has a different goal. #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, #NoBanNoWall, #DACA, #MuslimBan, #TimesUp and others exist because these are issues that need to be addressed; all of these movements have rolled into the new year because the issues are weighing on us to make the change. Everyone is affected by the political climate in one way or another.

We, as a group, have the power to empower all our counterparts and show we are a strong generation that will no longer be divided. These issues have been pressing on past generations, and it is time to come together and make changes.

Each group is fighting for different outcomes, yet we all have similar goals: Being respected, gaining equality and being treated like humans. Our differences are what make us great. These differences should not be used to separate us in times when we should be united. Where our ancestors come from is not a deciding factor in how worthy we are of respect, equality and so forth.

Now is the time to define where our country will go. Will we continue to be divided, or will we come together? We have the power to claim our rights and have confidence in who we are as people.

Every movement in this time has a right to speak out, and we have the responsibility to listen and be receptive. This task of being open and receptive is huge, but if we realize we are all humans who have been through different situations that have shaped who we are, we can come together. We can learn from the past and avoid repeating history.

No one should fear leaving home because of the color of their skin. No one should be afraid of being assaulted or harassed. No child should fear being taken away from their family and placed in a country they did not grow up in. No person should be made to feel like a burden in a country that is filled with different kinds of people. No one should have to be told their marriage is not valid. No one deserves to lose their lives because of bad judgement and unfounded fear. No one should live in fear of having their words discredited because of race, gender, sexual orientation.

We have the ability to change how this country functions. None of these changes can happen overnight, but if we begin now, future generations will pick up where we left off. They will be empowered because we decided to unify and succeed instead of divide and fail.

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