Dear Next President,
Discrimination in the US is something that is still a major problem today, even when our rights tell us that we are equal. Every day, people that are considered “different” from the social norm face hate from other US citizens. Examples of being “different” include race, and being part of the LGBTQ community. This hate that these Americans have for these people have caused so many horrible acts of violence, and even death. As a teen living in the modern age, I should expect that hearing hate and discrimination in this country would be to a minimum, but as I interact and learn about the world, I continue to learn that this isn’t the case.
Discrimination really impacts people of the LGBTQ community because they aren’t “normal” heterosexual males or females, as the world’s standards set to be. According to the Human and Civil Rights Organization, in 2015, at least 21 lives were taken from this world due to acts of violence, all because these people decided to express themselves as transgender. The Human and Civil Rights Organization also says, “Sadly, 2016 has already seen at least 19 transgender people fatally shot, stabbed, and killed by other violent means.” 40 people in the past 2 years have lost their lives, and most of these transgenders are connected to being, specifically, transgender women of color. The National School Climate Survey of 2011 reports that 81.9% of LGBTQ students were bullied in the past year due to their sexual orientation. All of these stats can’t even explain the emotional burden it puts on these people, but is shown through the 78% of people who have attempted suicide because of violence, reported from a National Transgender Discrimination Survey. It is so heartbreaking that the amount of hate someone can have on someone else’s differences can ruin or take someone’s life.
Discrimination is not just in the LGBTQ community, it’s also in something that is as equally unchangeable as being a part of the gay, bisexual, or transgender… being a person of color. Most recently, the world has seen riots and protests because of police brutality, as many would protest as a reason for being black. In the past few years, there have been many outbursts in the country because of how angry and done people are for feeling as if specific groups are treated unfairly. Take for example, the 2015 Baltimore Riots, due to the death of Freddie Gray. CNN’s Joshua Berlinger wrote about the CVS fire that rioters caused, the hoses to put out fires stabbed by rioters, and more violent and chaotic acts. The people of Baltimore and around the country felt as justice was not served, so many acts of violence were committed because of it. While I did not support the riots, because I believe violence was not going to stop police brutality or any form of discrimination, I do understand why people felt so angry.
In my personal life, I am very fortunate to be surrounded by people who are very accepting of others, but there is still a large group of kids that do still discriminate, and refuse to accommodate to others’ differences. I have transgender friends that tell me how some people refuse to call them by their preferred pronouns. I see in social media how people are attacked for being gay, trans, or black. Also, after the riots in Charlotte over the death of Keith Scott, another police brutality case, a young girl named Zianna Oliphant made the whole country cry with her emotional speech. She said, “It’s a shame that our fathers and mothers are killed, and we can’t even see them anymore. It’s a shame we have to go to their graveyard, and bury them. And we have tears, and we shouldn’t have tears.” The discrimination and violence in this country is affecting the lives of young kids like Zianna Oliphant, when their main focus should be school, and having fun as a kid.
Future President of the United States, you are our representation. You are our public figure. With your influence, you can make change. You have the power to advocate the end of discrimination in our country. Discrimination and hate will always be in the world, I understand that, but you can make it where the violence and death that comes with it stops. By using your voice in supporting campaigns and organizations that dedicate themselves to this very issue, and just voicing the overall issue of discrimination, you can make change for our country. Myself, and many others in this country are willing to take the first step, as many are already trying, but we just need you to do so, too.
A Hopeful Citizen,