There’s been a lot of negativity in our country during this election cycle and now during the start of this presidency. And let’s face it, the negativity has just been more publicized, it’s not new.

It’s been with us forever.

It’s plagued us.

We’ve plagued ourselves.

But it’s time to put that behind us.

Not forget.

Not at all. There’s been far too much forgetting in this country. Far too much.

But it’s time for us to turn that negativity into growth. It’s time for us to use it. Because if we don’t, then we’re just going to let it destroy us. And I don’t plan on letting that happen, at least not without a fight.

And it seems like there are a lot of other people out there that think the same thing. And that gives me hope. A lot of it. Because it reminds me at a time when everyday brings more and more vulnerability, that the beautiful ideas our country is supposed to stand for are important priorities for so many of the people that stand beside me.

It’s nice to know that as powerful as the word “racist” is, the word “resist” eclipses it’s power. It’s bolstering to know that as intimidating as the word “sexist” is, the word “persist” is going to define this time in history much, much more. We’ve turned words that were spat out with condescension and hate into a rallying cry that we shouted from rooftops.

One by one, I saw my American brothers and sisters become “nasty women” and “bad hombres”. One by one I saw people, of all colors, all creeds, all genders and identities embrace each other and say, “you’re safe”, “I’ll fight for you” and “love trumps hate”.

I saw people join hands with each other. I saw people hit the streets in droves. I saw people standing up for themselves and standing up for the people around them. And that’s something to have pride in. That’s something to remember when the negativity and hate is weighing us down and making it hard to hold your head up.

#blacklivesmatter

#NoBanNoWall

#NoH8

#NoDAPL

These ideas have ensconced us. They’ve immersed. They make me glad for the concept of hashtags.

Climate Change Matters

Science is Not a Conspiracy

The Affordable Care Act

The EPA

The Department of Education

These issues and areas have become priorities. They’ve stopped being punchlines in a political agenda and have started to turn into pieces of our lives.

And you know what, they should be.

It’s awesome to just go about everyday and get our Starbucks and go to work, pin items on Pinterest, heat up leftovers and go on Facebook to share pictures of our kids or pets or dinner. That’s great.

But that’s a life half-lived.

Our planet needs to be important to us.

Our children’s education (whether we have them or not) needs to be important to us.

Curing disease needs to be important to us.

Human rights, ours and those of every human, need to be important to us.

We need to stop judging each other.

We need to stop hating each other.

We need to realize that coming together and supporting each other is the only way to truly create something to be proud of.

Having a gold toilet? I’m sorry, that’s not something to be proud of. That’s not. Sure, working hard to be able to afford a gold toilet may make you proud but the toilet itself is just a toilet, whatever it’s made of. Helping yourself or someone else get access to water, plumbing and proper sanitation — that right there — that is something to be proud of.

It’s not honorable to lead an easy life.

It’s not honorable to lead a selfish life.

And as I look around, no matter where I am — in the real world or online — I see honor in so many places. I see good, honorable people — people so I’m proud to walk this land with — standing up for themselves and standing up for their neighbors, saying…

“I matter.”

“You matter.”

“He matters.”

“She matters.”

“They matter.”

I see people stopping and saying “this doesn’t sound right”, “I’m not sure about this”, “this doesn’t feel good”.

Those words, that questioning, it’s beautiful. Even if you thought that you would feel differently, if it turns out that you just can’t bring yourself to hate people the way you’re being asked to — that’s beautiful.

Please, see the beauty in that.

See that it’s never too late to change your mind.

See that there is amazing power in the courage and bravery to change your mind, to change your heart.

Amidst my anger and fear, I’m beginning to be thankful. Thankful that God thought to put me on the earth during a time where I could witness this love bringing us together; this love and respect making us stand up and fight, for ourselves and for each other. I’m thankful that God has given me the chance to do what’s right, to be actively involved in my life, to care about more than just my own, small piece of this place.

And I’m thankful that God has given me the chance to participate with and witness so many honorable people that I proudly call brother and sister.

Thank you all for giving me something to strive for…to give me something to aspire to.