Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thank You 2013. You've Been Very Good.

It's been quite a year and now that the end of it has come, many people will be reminiscing about the closing year and making plans and resolutions for the new one. Some people's resolutions are to exercise more or eat right. My resolution is to get legislation passed granting 16 and 17 year olds the opportunity to pre-register to vote and automatically be added to the voter rolls when they turn 18.

It's also customary for bloggers to make some kind of end of the year post, usually containing a list of some sort. Here is a list of people I'd like to thank for their support and encouragement in 2013. These are in no particular order and this is far from a complete list.
 



 Zack Ford

I wouldn't be writing this blog and therefore wouldn't have done anything I've done this year if it would not have been for Zack Ford. By writing about LBGT issues on Think Progress he showed me that writing can inspire other people to speak out and take action.




Have a Gay Day

Have a Gay Day published the first serious piece I ever wrote. It's entitled "What I Did on My Summer Vacation." They showed me in a big way that my words could make a difference for other people.





Senator Josh Stein

Senator Stein stood up for the ability of teenagers to pre-register to vote in the NC Senate when the new voting legislation was being debated. Even though the legislation passed and this opportunity for young people was eliminated, Senator Stein continued to talk about the issue. He also takes the time to listen and speaks to the ordinary people of his state with respect.



Reverend William Barber

Reverend Barber is leading a revolution here in North Carolina. He spoke to the young people, encouraging us to not fight but find solutions to problems. He also took the time to speak with me personally and was very kind and encouraging.





Melissa Harris-Perry

I never thought I would ever be invited to appear on MSNBC and I'm so glad my first live interview was with Melissa. Being named Foot Soldier of the Week and then a Foot Soldier of the Year are honors I hope to live up to someday.




Noah Read

Noah invited me to speak at Moral Monday here in Alamance County. He put so much work into making it such an awesome event with a great turnout and continues to work to make our city and our state a better place.





Mark Sandlin

Mark is a leader who leads with grace and writes with honesty and eloquence. He and his group, The Christian Left, were some of the first people who believed in me.




Kimberley Johnson

Kimberley is an inspiring writer and activist who has graciously read over stuff I'm nervous about. She's helped me publish some of my stuff over at Liberals Unite and has laughed and screamed with me over the craziness of politics and activism. With people like her on the job, women might just get equal protection under the Constitution in my lifetime.




Kevin Wilson Jr.

Kevin not only made a fantastic movie called Little Red Riding Hood  which gets people thinking about race and justice in the wake of Trayvon Martin's murder, he allowed me to be in the film. This was not only one of the highlights of my year, but of my life.




The Entire Staff at Fox 8 WGHP

Every experience I've had working with Fox 8 has been amazing. They've all been so fun and nice and let me say what I needed to say. They made me feel very at home and comfortable in their studio and not nervous at all before going on live television.



Molly McGowan

She was the very first reporter to contact me about doing a story and she has always reported what I've said accurately. She always contacts me to make sure she's got all the facts and stays away from sensationalism.




Alicia Menendez

When you're on live TV, not used to being on live TV, and get an echo of yourself in your earpiece, it's easy to panic but Alicia kept right on going and kept me right on going too.




Reverend Al Sharpton

Reverend Sharpton payed me a huge compliment on his show but at that time I didn't know about his activism when he was young. Now I realize what an honor that compliment really was.




Jamie Sohn

We might have never met under other circumstances, but will now be linked as sisters in baked goods forever.




Walter Boyd

Any time a local theater group puts on a show, Walter is always there to help in some way. He's one of the best examples of activism I know.






 The Everlasting GOP Stoppers

When they pinned the video of my Moral Monday speech to their Facebook page, I started seeing it everywhere. When I realized THAT many people cared about what I had to say, I took a chance and decided to start my petition asking for federal legislation so teens can pre-register to vote.



Too many people on Twitter to even name

When I decided to use my Twitter account primarily for politics, I started meeting so many great people who have been with me from the very start and are all working to improve things in our country. A special shout out to @LaPajamas, @ChynnaBlue5, @leslieks @Robyn780,and @OtherBecky who are just a few of the awesome everyday women I've met working for change.




 Everybody at MoveOn

What an amazing journey. MoveOn contacted me after I got a lot of signatures on my petition and helped me drive my campaign and bring my ideas to reality. It's a great honor to be MoveOn's youngest leader.




My best friend, Dominic

Because. 











Sunday, November 17, 2013

Youth of a Nation

Right now, in the United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave, there are people who are arguing for raising the voting age. There are people who think that our nation's young people have no business paying attention to what's going on around us or taking action to help form a more perfect union.

The time has come to demand leadership that encourages our nation's young people and respects and values our opinions and our voices. Allowing teenagers to pre-register to vote has the ability to increase turnout among the next generation of voters. The cost to implement such a program would be minimal and there is no better investment we can make than to invest in encouraging more of our future leaders to become active participants in their local, state, and national elections.

I want to see all of America's young people have the opportunity to pre-register and be added to the voter rolls when they turn 18. I've started a petition to urge the leaders of our nation to come together and pass legislation that will give us this opportunity.
Give All of America's Teenagers the Ability to Pre-Register to Vote

Now, I need your help. I need you to sign this petition and share it with everyone you know. I would also like to see other people contacting and even starting petitions to their state lawmakers, urging them to get this done. I am just one voice and we will need many voices, especially the voices of our young people, in order to get our lawmakers to pay attention.

If you decide to start a petition or get a response from one of your elected representatives, please come and share it on my NC Youth Rock Facebook page.

It's time for America's children, young and old, to be seen and, more importantly, heard. Even the youngest citizens can take part by drawing a picture and sending it to their representatives.



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Keepin' It Real

People can express a wide range of reactions, emotions, and moods. I made a funny video with my Friend Bryan O'Kelly Cox showing how some of these things are reflected in internet culture.

video


I read an article about Pat McCrory the other day. He said, "I want to speak to people while looking them in the eyes, so I can see their reaction." He wasn't looking me in the eye when he said this on a radio show and in response to me wanting to sit down face to face, "This is all very liberal groups using children as I think, um, props, to push a very far left agenda."

Pre-registration for teenagers to vote. That's the very far left agenda I'm pushing. My reaction, as screen captured from the above video:

Really?

                                      

McCrory also said in his recent interview, "I recognize that sentences can be parceled, things can be taken out of context and my political opponents and sometimes the media can run with that."

I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he just got caught up in the party politics. Many of us have been guilty of this. He doesn't know me. Maybe he doesn't have much experience with teenagers. Maybe he thinks politics is too confusing for us, like certain members of the North Carolina General Assembly.


Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/11/10/4455483/talking-off-the-cuff-mccrorys.html#.UoQdbfkWIeo#storylink=cpy

Governor McCrory also said, "If I make a mistake, I'll own up to it and say we made a mistake." 

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/11/10/4455483/talking-off-the-cuff-mccrorys.html#.UoQdbfkWIeo#storylink=cpy



Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/11/10/4455483/talking-off-the-cuff-mccrorys.html#.UoQdbfkWIeo#storylink=cpy
The royal "we" hath made a mistake. I want no apologies from him. I think the young people of North Carolina deserve one though.




Saturday, November 9, 2013

Gratitude

A few people have been reading about me lately. I'm really not that amazing. What I am is extremely thankful. A lot of my readers are just finding out about me, but there are a lot of people who have been with me from the moment I started writing my blog and speaking out about issues I care about. To those people, I couldn't be doing any of this without your support and encouragement.

Haters gonna hate and there are a lot of really ignorant comments out there about me. Seriously y'all, forward together. No matter what I say or do, I can't please everyone and that's not my goal. My goal is to get the opportunity to pre-register to vote for as many teenagers as possible.

I really appreciate all the compliments, but this isn't about me. This is about young people all over NC and all over the country. This is about what kind of country we want to lead. Make no mistake, we will be leading this country someday. I don't know about you, but I would like to go back to the old motto, E pluribus unum, which means out of many, one.

Instead of wasting time trying to defend me to people who don't know me, don't want to know me, and only want to use me as their prop to discourage youth participation and spread hateful, discriminatory messages, please do this instead: Send a short email to one of your elected representatives. Send them a message promoting youth participation. If your state doesn't have pre-registration, ask for it. If your state does have pre-registration, ask for something else. You can get a lot of good ideas from this report recently published by a nonpartisan organization. http://www.civicyouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/CIRCLE-youthvoting-individualPages.pdf

Forward together, not one step back. When we turn on the television or get on the internet, it's easy to believe we live in a polarized world. It's easy to lose hope that we can, out of many, become one. But we can't lose that hope. We can't let the unreasonable few drown out the majority of American voices who are reasonable. We may not agree on all the issues but we should be able to agree on two basic truths. The first is that our voice and our vote matters. The second is that the future of our nation is in the hands of our young people.

Again, thanks to everyone for their support. Thank you to the writers who continue to inspire me every day. Thank you to the people who, from the start, believed in me and haven't given up on me. I promise I won't give up on us and won't give up on a better future and a more perfect union.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fired Up

I was so excited when I got invited to speak at Moral Monday in Alamance County. I was glad to have the opportunity to show other young people that if they pay attention and take action, they could make a difference.

Having been to previous Moral Mondays in Raleigh, Asheville, Charlotte, and Greensboro, I sort of knew what to expect. What I didn't expect was for so many people to show up right in my own little hometown. There were over 500 people at the event. The main organizer, Noah Read of Burlington, did a fantastic job of arranging and publicizing the event along with the Alamance County NAACP.

The highlight of my experience was getting to meet two women who have inspired me and I consider to be my heroes. I met Ellie Kinnaird, who resigned from the NC Senate in order to get people registered and to the polls to vote. I also met Rosanell Eaton, who I heard speak at Moral Monday and inspired me to take action.

I also got to see many friends I've made at previous Moral Mondays and meet many of my petition signers and supporters for the very first time. I also met a lot of young people. I met other girls who were inspired by my speech. I got to meet some very young future leaders too. 



Here is a video of the speech I gave. I am so thankful to Story of America for filming this amazing video. 



Today, this speech is being shared all over the internet and is getting a lot of attention. I'm extremely thankful to everyone who has shared this and I'm glad people are paying attention.

The point of all this, of everything I'm doing, is to restore the opportunity of teenagers here in North Carolina to pre-register. If I dream BIG, I would love to see a Federal pre-registration law passed. That way there would be a uniform age for pre-registration across the entire nation giving this opportunity to all of America's young people. The attention does no good without action. So, to all of you who are paying attention, please take action. Please contact your lawmakers. Please ask any candidate you plan to vote for how they plan to lead and encourage young people. Tell them you want to vote for a candidate that supports the restoration of pre-registration.

What we need is, first and foremost, for someone to sponsor the re-introduction of this legislation granting teenagers the ability to pre-register. Then we need to get it passed. We need the kind of representatives who want to encourage our youth and increase voter turnout among our young people in order to do this. We need to get promises and hold people to those promises.

As I said in my speech, "The match has been lit and my fire burns bright." But I need more wood on the fire. I want to be able to pre-register to vote when I turn 16. Please help me get this done. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Poor Man's Vegetable

This came straight off Governor McCrory's official website:

"Governor McCrory announced today that approximately 6,700 pounds of fresh turnip greens harvested at the state prison farm at Caledonia Correctional Institution are being delivered to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina." 




This is the first of four planned deliveries. They plan to deliver a total of 26,800 pounds of turnip greens. It could be even more than that if the number of needy people increases.

The Governor presented cookies to women concerned about their reproductive rights and thought that cake was "a child's request" when I stood outside his mansion late at night with a protest sign.

Do you think North Carolina's citizens fell off the turnip truck, Governor? Are you just that out of touch with the citizens you represent?

Maybe you were unaware that in the Old South, the slave masters kept the turnips for themselves and gave the discarded turnip greens to their slaves. Perhaps you don't know how offensive it was to brag about giving turnip greens to hungry North Carolinians. This is your chance to apologize.










Thursday, October 17, 2013

Having Your Cake




It appears Governor McCrory does like to share cake with some people. He chose not to share cake with me, but in his effort to diss and dismiss me by calling my request to meet with him ridiculous and calling me a prop for liberal groups, he actually made even more people aware of my efforts to restore pre-registration for teenagers.

The United States Justice Department is bringing a lawsuit on North Carolina because of the 56 page voting bill Governor McCrory signed into law. McCrory commented on this lawsuit by citing how President Obama  himself had to present an ID when he voted early in Chicago and how he feels the Justice Department disagrees with majority of North Carolinians who think showing an ID when you vote is a good idea.

Once again, a 12 year old girl has to point out obvious things that the Governor of North Carolina seems to miss. What the Justice Department is challenging here is not a simple voter ID law. The Justice Department is challenging this law because it is overly restrictive as far as the type of ID that can be used and doesn't offer enough protections for voters who do not have ID. There are also three other parts of this law that the Justice Department is challenging. The new voting law in NC cut back on the number of early voting days. It eliminated same-day registration. It also stopped the counting of provisional ballots from people who went to the wrong polling place by accident.

The Department of Justice can't do anything about the elimination of pre-registration for teenagers in NC. However I, unlike the Governor, been doing a lot of reading on this topic. A recent report by the Commission on Youth Voting and Civic Knowledge (a non-partisan organization) recommends that we, "align states’ high school civics curricula with voting reforms that encourage pre-registration in schools." I encourage all my readers who care about youth engagement in democracy to read the entire report here: http://www.civicyouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/CIRCLE-youthvoting-individualPages.pdf

This voter ID law is much more than a voter ID law and if McCrory is going to defend the law, he needs to defend the whole thing. Own it, Governor, and if and when you do own it, you need to tell us why. If you want to have your cake at our expense, Governor, you should be prepared to eat it when 2016 gets here.










Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Welcome to Rape Culture, Population You

In my small town, there are adult men who care more about the high school football games than the teenagers do. They care more about the football teams in the local schools than they do the quality or variety of classes offered there. In a small town like this, there's a great deal of socioeconomic prejudice. There's also a great deal of sexism. We might as well put up a sign on the highway, "Welcome to Rape Culture."

When I read about 14-year-old Daisy Coleman of Maryville, Missouri, she could easily be a girl I know. Daisy was raped by a member of her high school's football team. Instead of getting the justice she deserved, Daisy and her family were attacked by members of their own community. You can read Daisy's story, along with the story of her friend who was also raped, here in the Kansas City Star:
http://www.kansascity.com/2013/10/12/4549775/nightmare-in-maryville-teens-sexual.html

I know a lot of girls who are "boy obsessed." This obsession with boys, putting them at the center of our universe, contributes to rape culture. Still, the only person who can be blamed for abuse whether it be sexual, physical, or emotional, is the abuser. At the same time girls have to start putting themselves at the center of their own universes, clear messages need to be sent from other boys that young men are responsible for their behavior. We girls have a role here too, as we need to stand by those young men who are sending this message.

Young men and young women need to always demand justice in cases of abuse. In this case, the case of Daisy Coleman, the fact the rapist was a football player with the right last name led to him getting off free as a bird. It was Daisy and her family who were ostracized, bullied, and subjected to further attacks. The adults in that town need to be ashamed of themselves. Many of the adults in my town need to be ashamed of themselves too.

We can change the culture that contributed to what happened in Maryville, Stubenville, and many other towns across America. It will take standing up and demanding respect not just for ourselves, but for others. Right now, let's all stand up and demand respect for Daisy and her friend who went through and continue to go through a horrible ordeal.




Monday, September 30, 2013

The Republican Party Needs Our Help

I got a message recently about one of my blog posts, saying that I was too nice to Republicans and telling me I didn't know enough about how they are trying to destroy our country. It's not the first time I've gotten a similar message. You can see my response to such messages in another recent blog post. This post, I'm sure, is going to make more people angry.

I watch the news and I read. I can't pretend I understand all the issues as well as some people but I see what's going on. What's going on is things have gone crazy. I think people have latched on to the crazy too much and I think that has the potential to hurt this country even more. It's important to know that the crazy is out there and it's important to refute it, don't get me wrong. But when we paint an entire party with the same color paint, we're making it less likely for ordinary voters to use their voices in ways that promote reason and we're making the country more polarized.

I know a lot of Republicans. I disagree with them on some of the issues. They aren't out there crazy talking and saying and doing the kinds of things I've heard from people like Ted Cruz. Actually a lot of these people are just as disgusted with what some people in their party are doing right now as I am. I also hear from people who say they don't even vote because they feel they have no one to vote for, and I get the feeling a lot of them lean toward the Republican side of things.

I'm not suggesting that my friends who are Democrats start campaigning or voting for Republicans. What I'm suggesting is that when we hear about Republican candidates who are acting reasonable, even if we disagree with their positions on some of the issues, we say, "Hey, that's cool." Maybe we could write letters to them, telling them that even though we disagree with them on the issues, we appreciate that they are not doing things like advocating laws to take other people's rights or ability to make choices away or do things like shut down the entire government. When we talk about candidates we support, and someone says they don't support that candidate for whatever reasons, we could suggest another reasonable candidate they could vote for.

I think if more of us start doing this, we might have a chance to help eliminate some of the crazy. But it's going to take time. We're in danger now of creating a generation of people who don't care. The government is supposed to represent the people, and when the people start appreciating reasonable voices, even if they don't agree, the government will start reflecting that. Fox News might not be fair and balanced but that doesn't mean we the people can't be.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Forever Alone

This week, I learned a lot about friendship. I'm lucky that I have a lot of friends who will be there for me, no matter what. One of my friends sent me a message recently after he read one of my blog posts. He was talking about relationships and how a lot of people get it wrong when they think about relationships. A real relationship is one in which the other person makes you a stronger person. You might meet someone and really like that person, and maybe that person likes you too. But even when people like each other, that's not enough to make a real relationship.

My best friend is a good example of what it's like to have a real relationship. We've been friends since we were little kids. We don't live close to each other, but our parents make sure we get to see each other regularly. We talk to each other almost every day. We share a lot of the same interests, but we're both interested in different things also. Through our different interests, I think we learn a lot. We approach problems differently in some ways and learn a lot from each other that way too. I know that if I were hurting or in trouble, there's no doubt in my mind he would be right by my side. He really does make me a stronger person.

I've heard the phrase a lot, "If you want to have a friend, you have to be a friend." I think the word friend is a word that gets used a lot because it's an easy word to use. No one who is your friend would ever try to hurt you or kick you when you're down. I've thought a lot about the kind of friend I want to be. Thinking about this proves exactly what my friend who sent me the message to talk about relationships was saying. When I think about what kind of friend I want to be, I think about my best friend and what kind of friend he is. I want to be the kind of friend who is that loyal and caring. I want to be the kind of friend who empowers my friends to be strong because they know, no matter what, I'll be in their corner.

I learned from a very early age that when you're successful, a lot of people will want to attach themselves to you. These people aren't friends, they're followers. When you fall, these people will turn away from you in a hot minute and when they see someone else who they view as being more popular, they will attach themselves to that person instead. If you make the mistake of thinking of these people as friends, you're going to get caught up in that same mentality. You'll start caring more about what other people think and not so much about how you think and feel about yourself.

The great thing is when you have a lot of people in your life who make you stronger, you attract a lot of other really strong people. I often joke that I'm forever alone, even though I have so many people in my life who really do care about me. I say I'm forever alone because people like my best friend have helped to make me so strong that I'm not afraid to step out there alone. Look at what's happened as a result. I'm inspiring other people to step out there too.







Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Words...

This is one of my favorite songs, and I listen to it every time before I start writing. Enjoy. 




I don't write to please people and I don't write to further the agenda of any party. I write to stand up for what I believe in. Words are my gift. This is my voice. No one will ever tell me what to write or especially what not to write. Nine thousand people read my last blog post. When you know anything you write will possibly be read by thousands of people, it's important that you make sure you mean what you say.

I've been honored to write guest blog posts for Liberals Unite and most recently for Moristotle & Co.  In neither case did anyone try to tell me what my message should or shouldn't be. I wasn't given these opportunities because someone wanted to use me as some sort of prop. I wasn't given these opportunities because I'm 12 years old and cute. I was given these opportunities because some very special people read and appreciated my previous work. I consider this a very great honor.

Words can hold people accountable for their actions. I'm not afraid to call people out regardless of what party they represent. I've experienced acts of extreme good will from Republicans and I've been dissed by Democrats. I don't judge people based on what box they check on their voter registration form. I didn't get involved in activism and start writing about politics and social issues to play party games. My loyalty is to the truth and to being true to myself.

Writing isn't just about getting a bunch of people to read your words. Words can inspire people to feel and can inspire people to take action. The whole reason I started this blog in the first place was because I saw how another writer had inspired people to take action and help support people facing injustice. I'd like to encourage other girls to not be afraid to share what they write. Even if only one other person reads what you've written and that one person is affected in some way by your words, you have succeeded.

It's important for girls to remember that we have power. Each and every one of us has some gift or talent that can make a difference. Each of us has the power to reach people. In my case, I have the power to write things that reach thousands, the power to call contacts in the media and give them a scoop, and the power to post on social media and it have the potential to go viral. I didn't get this power by accident. I got this power because I work hard. There have been times I've written something I was really proud of, and then maybe only a few hundred people read it. Then I'll write something else, something I may be unsure about or not think is very good, and people love it. You can't predict how your audience will react. You can't get discouraged by other people's reactions.

There are thousands of other people out there writing about the same issues. You have to keep it real with people and look deep inside yourself so that way, there's a good chance you're bringing something unique to your potential audience. People will try to steer you towards their message sometimes. Beware of those people. They do not have your best interest at heart, only their own. I wrote a post about abortion yesterday and several of my pro-life friends said they liked it, as did several of my pro-choice friends. That's when you know you're doing it right.

Today, I have a guest blog post featured on Moristotle and Co. about Moral Monday. I'm sure there are people on the right who won't like it and people on the left who won't like it. If there is one thing my readers can be assured of, agree or disagree, I mean what I say.
http://moristotle.blogspot.com/2013/09/tuesday-voice-moral-monday.html

Sunday, September 22, 2013

An Open Letter to the Woman Who Called Me a Baby Killer

Dear Fellow Human Being,

It was shocking to me that you, an adult, were unable to engage in a reasonable discussion with me, a young person. When you recognized me, I didn't try to hide who I was. The reaction I got from one of the people there with you, that it was a good thing I was standing up and getting involved, is a response I've gotten from many Republicans. See, many people involved in politics can support the idea our democracy is about all kinds of voices being involved, even if people don't agree on all the issues. Believe it or not, there are even things people from both parties can agree on.

I was more than happy to discuss abortion with you. I was more than happy to explain the reasons I am pro-choice and I was more than happy to listen to you talk about how your experience having numerous abortions has made you pro-life. It took a lot of courage for you to talk about something so personal with me, someone you just met, and I really appreciate that. What you need to understand is that the purpose of these discussions should not be to change someone else's mind. Neither one of us, no matter how strong our positions or how right we think they might be, has the ability to do that by brute force. The real purpose of these discussions should be for us to understand where the other side is coming from.

You, however, couldn't have this type of reasonable discussion and instead chose to call me a baby killer. Had you been able to act like a reasonable human being and had this discussion with me in a reasonable manner, I bet we could have then found something we had in common. I bet you know some teenagers who are pro-life that would pre-register to vote at 16 or 17 years old if we worked together to restore that opportunity for them, as I know I sure do. We could have talked about our dogs. We could have talked about the weather and how we hoped the rain would hold off. We could have talked about all kinds of things if only you had been able to act like a reasonable adult.

Sincerely,

Another Human Being

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Leadership

Yesterday, I went to Raleigh for a Moral Monday led by young people. The experience I had was quite different than I thought it would be. The beginning of this rally was held in a church. There were caskets at the front to remember the little girls who were killed in the bombing of an Alabama church 50 years ago. This meant a lot to me, as I just finished working on a short film about race and justice. You can watch it here:
http://redridinghoodfilm.tumblr.com/

All the young people there got up in the front as the rally started and we were holding pictures of the girls. Several young people spoke. They spoke about taking action on voting rights and education. They talked about how they planned to take action to stand up for the rights of other young people. We sang and there was a prayer. Then it was time to march. People carried the caskets and we marched down Wilmington Street and circled around the Governor's mansion. Some people seem a little confused about why we did this. The death of those four little girls was because of a division so deep and so grotesque it led someone to commit violence. We marched with those caskets because we, the young people, don't want to live in a world where that level of division exists.

Then we got to the lawn there at the legislative building, the spot where many of us had gathered before at Moral Monday. As usual, instead of being in the large crowd, I found a quieter place to sit and watch. I talked to a few people I've gotten to know online and it was really nice to finally meet them in person. A very nice man walked up with his little boy, and he said he wanted his son to meet me because I was an inspiration. The little boy's name is Dantz and he is an 8 year old future leader. Dantz said he thought I was tall. I'm not tall, even for my age. I'm used to everyone towering over me. But here was this kid, looking up to me.

Reverend Barber spoke at the rally. He talked to us, the young people, about how important we are. He encouraged us to get involved. He talked about how it's important to work on bipartisan solutions to problems. He talked about how it's important not to fight with people and instead try to bring people together.

I've heard older people who participated in the civil rights movement talk about marching with Martin Luther King. When I grow up, I'm going to talk about how I marched with Reverend William Barber.



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

FYI (if you're a functional human being)

I don't have a lot of time to write this, but I wasn't going to be the only female blogger to not come out and say something about this post made as an address to teenage girls. Before you read it, you should know that this author made another post where she used the phrase "so-called same sex marriage."
http://givenbreath.com/2013/09/03/fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl/

First of all, the idea of a family sitting around at dinner deciding who they are "all" going to be friends with is creepy. The idea that adults think they have to monitor their kids all the time and make all their decisions is creepy. It sends a message to kids that they are not trustworthy. It makes kids focus more on not getting in trouble and less about making smart decisions for themselves. If your kids lie to you, you should ask yourself why they feel they have to lie.

Now let's talk about the idea that how you dress is important and that you will never go anywhere in life if you don't follow someone else's idea of what you should be. Please tell that to Miley Cyrus. I would never get up and do a routine like that myself. Just because I wouldn't do it doesn't mean she can't. I'm sure she set out to shock people and she succeeded. I don't see how she's much different than she was on Disney. Same message with a different outfit. Only now that she's using sexuality to sell things, it's a problem for some people. Anyway, she's still very successful at what she's set out to do.

The main problem people had with this post is that it sets a different standard for men than women because the boys in the pictures were shirtless and she was telling girls to keep their clothes on. The author replied to this by making a second post where her sons had shirts on. It wasn't just the image of women she was trying to define with her ignorant remarks. It was the image of men too. I wonder how she would feel if some of my hot gay friends started posting shirtless pictures all over her sons' Facebook pages?

FYI girls: you dress how you want. If you want to cover yourself from ankle to wrist, that's cool. If you want to wear short skirts and halter tops can I borrow your clothes? Seriously though, NO ONE - not a boy, not your friends, not your parents, not your teachers, NO ONE has the right to tell you what to do with your own body or make assumptions about what you do with your own body. YOU make that decision for YOU.

If you feel like your parents don't trust you, don't respect you, and won't let you make your own choices, be patient. Don't sneak around and try alcohol or drugs. If you think you can't handle it anymore, reach out for help. I know a lot of young adults and older adults who were once in your same situation and it will all work out ok. Just remember that in the end, your parents won't be the ones who have to live with the decisions you make.










Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Great Moments in Small Lives

Oh my gosh you guys, I got to talk to Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC. I know a lot of my friends and people out there on the internet want to know what that’s like. It started with a phone call notifying me MSNBC wanted to talk to me. Then I got to talk to Lorena Ruiz with the show. In two days, I would be going to Raleigh to appear on live TV.

Thank goodness for me it was a very busy two days. Having conversations is not my strongest thing. 300 words come into my head. There are a million ways to answer each and every question. And I would be talking to Melissa Harris-Perry. I was glad I had a lot to do that day. That night, I came out of a rehearsal and I saw that Feminist Justice League of North Carolina had pre-registered teenagers at a local high school that day, the last day of pre-registration for teens. They said my inspiration was one of the reasons they did it.

I spent the rest of that night feeling like I was in a dream. It was like all this was happening to someone I wanted to be in the future. Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me? I went and hung out and played Werewolf for a little while with friends before going home to sleep.

My mom went and got me Starbucks the next morning while I was in the shower. She got me a biscuit too, but I didn’t feel like eating much. I was so excited.  On the way to Raleigh I passed the time with social media. We got to the TV studio and I got to be the one hanging out in the green room for reasons for the very first time. After a little while Ann the makeup artist came. Meeting her was definitely one of the best things about the whole experience. Not only did I get to find out about her and her career, talking about another one of my passions for that time before the interview probably kept me from spazzing completely.

Then it was time to go to where television gets made. I never knew that those backgrounds they show behind people on the news are actually on a TV screen. I got my mic and my earpiece. I would need to do 10 more interviews like that to get used to that earpiece. Then it was countdown time. I started shaking. I was so nervous.

I heard Melissa Harris-Perry talking about protesters and people standing up for what they believe in. Then she started talking to me. Melissa Harris-Perry was talking to me. I just started talking like I was talking to any other person I had just met. That whole time I had to listen to what was coming into my ear, talk, and remember to look at the camera at the same time. I knew words were coming out of my mouth, but I had no clue at the time if I was even making sense. It felt like that moment took all of ten seconds. It went by so fast.

After the guy at the studio told me we were clear, I started crying. I really don’t know why I was crying but I think it was a combination of happiness and amazement at what just happened. Riding in the car on the way home I was getting all kinds of messages congratulating me. As soon as I got home I had to go straight to a class, so it was two more hours before I even saw the interview.

I still have a lot to learn about communicating well and improving my skills doing interviews. I am very thankful that Melissa Harris-Perry is so intelligent and such an easy person to talk to. I really admire her communication skills being able to sit on a panel and really make such good conversation and all the good points she makes. She makes it look so natural but there is a lot of hard work that goes into that. She’s such a great role model for girls like me and it was truly an honor to appear on her show.
 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lean on Me

If I see a dog at Moral Monday, there's a good chance I'm going to pet it. When I went to Charlotte for Moral Monday, I met the greatest Moral Monday dog of all time. His name was Henry, and all 132 pounds of him was supporting women's rights. He was wearing a sign that said "feminist in training" and was succeeding at that judging by how he brought smiles to men and women alike that day.

Henry is a rescue dog, just like my dog. Henry's mom says she doesn't know quite who rescued whom. I totally understand what she means. Today, I went to a rally in Greensboro to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. It was all about rescuing each other. 

Very few people have a dream and all by themselves make it come true. The bigger your dream, the more help you might find yourself needing. I'm trying to make my dream of a better North Carolina come true, and I've had a lot of help. Young people were a part of Martin Luther King's dream and I think they should be part of North Carolina's dream too.

Young people were a part of Taking the Dream Home to Greensboro today. There were a lot of college students there. They are going to fight to rescue their polling places on campus from being closed. I know at least one 17 year old there pre-registered to vote today before the Sept. 1st deadline. The young people of North Carolina are going to keep carrying the dream forward.

It's wrong to ignore or dismiss the voices of young people when you're in government. If you want to shape the attitudes of young people, you have to speak to them, not against them. You've got to show that you truly are serving the people, all the people, by the way you treat the people.

Henry the Great Dane knew how to treat people. Even though he was of large size, his friendly demeanor quickly put you at ease around him. He was happy just to stand there next to people and lean on them once in awhile. I don't think he cared what someone's political opinions were before he decided whether or not to be nice to them. He didn't care about your race, age, or any of that. 

I believe that things are going to get better in North Carolina. I think we'll be closer to the dream in the future. When I think about the legacy passed on to my generation by the people who started with Martin Luther King's dream, I feel rescued. I feel like NC's young people aren't starting from scratch. We'll build our dream on a strong foundation because the nation's youth was included in it. Just like Henry, we'll lean on each other once in awhile.







Old North State


North Carolina has a state song. It's called Old North State. Here it is: 


Carolina! Carolina! Heaven's blessings attend her!
While we live we will cherish, protect and defend her;
Tho' the scorner may sneer at and witlings defame her,
Still our hearts swell with gladness whenever we name her.
Hurrah! Hurrah! The Old North State forever!
Hurrah! Hurrah! The good Old North State!
Tho' she envies not others, their merited glory,
Say whose name stands the foremost, in Liberty's story,
Tho' too true to herself e'er to crouch to oppression,
Who can yield to just rule a more loyal submission?
Hurrah! Hurrah! The Old North State forever!
Hurrah! Hurrah! The good Old North State!
Plain and artless her sons, but whose doors open faster
At the knock of a stranger, or the tale of disaster.
How like the rudeness of the dear native mountains,
With rich ore in their bosoms and life in their fountains.
Hurrah! Hurrah! The Old North State forever!
Hurrah! Hurrah! The good Old North State!
And her daughters, the Queen or the forest resembling
So graceful, so constant, yet the gentlest breath trembling.
And true lightwood at heart, let the match be applied them,
How they kindle and flame! Oh! none know but who've tried them.
Hurrah! Hurrah! The Old North State forever!
Hurrah! Hurrah! The good Old North State!
Then let all those who love us, love the land that we live in,
As happy a region as on this side of heaven,
Where plenty and peace, love and joy smile before us,
Raise aloud, raise together the heart thrilling chorus.
Hurrah! Hurrah! The Old North State forever!
Hurrah! Hurrah! The good Old North State!
Isn't it nice the way it talks about North Carolina's sons and daughters? I think that's nice too. I like how it talks about North Carolina's daughters being graceful, constant, and on fire. William Gaston thought empowering North Carolina's daughters was a good idea in 1835 when he wrote our state song. 
He also talked about North Carolina's sons whose doors open fast when strangers knock.

What's happening to the Old North State? 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Notice Me Horton

So, picture me 12 years old and all this stuff is happening. This is so amazing. What's not amazing is the fact I've been insulted and dissed by my Governor. My Governor doesn't believe NC's young people can think for themselves, apparently. He doesn't seem to believe I could possibly be a functional human being.

McCrory didn't have a problem with any groups that supported him during his election or support him now. Yesterday, McCrory was at a CEO forum at a country club. People have been criticizing him for hanging out with his supporters and groups who support him. I think he has a right to do that. I don't consider it shocking or outside the norm of what people involved in politics usually do.
http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/blog/2013/08/mccrory-tells-business-leaders-to-go.html

Yesterday, I was in Raleigh doing my own version of "Notice Me Horton" by talking to the press. Let me tell you, nothing can prepare you for the experience of all those cameras at once. I would much rather be here on my computer talking to people where I have a delete button and can take 20 minutes to write one sentence if I want than to have a conversation in front of other people. When you give an interview on-camera, you aren't supposed to look at the camera. There I was yesterday answering questions saying in my head, "Just be yourself," while at the same time trying to look into the two inch space between the cameras. After they film you talking, they need footage to fill in the parts where they will be talking about you. That's when you get to do stuff like take bites of cake and let them film your hands closing the cake container.

The members of the press were all very nice to me. I'm glad I had that experience of all those cameras while I'm 12 years old. Think about what I'll be like when I'm 25. I was just as interested in the members of the press and watching the way they do their jobs as they were in me. I like journalists and I think they play an important role in society. They have the power to amplify people's voices and bring awareness to issues. Even people who have radio shows the Governor appears on who make assumptions about me have a purpose. Yes, I listened to it and at first my reaction was emotional, but logic usually comes in time and now I think it's funny. It was well played to the audience it was intended for, a good attempt at mocking, and not any more mean-spirited than I would have been in setting out to do something similar. I just wish the host would have said the words "Easy Bake Oven."

There were a few other people who showed up yesterday too. They were just regular citizens who believe in what I'm doing. My email is overflowing with messages of support from regular citizens.That's an incredible feeling, to know what you're doing really means something to someone.

I set out to make this whole silly cake thing mean something and I'm doing that. I'm offended at the notion this is all just a media stunt. I'm working hard to try to use the energy generated to do some good. I have a whole life outside of all this too, and I consider my time valuable. What's being used here (by me) is my time and abilities to bring attention to an issue that might otherwise have gotten lost in a sea of much bigger issues considering everything going on in NC right now.

Now it's clear McCrory knows I exist and that I want to have a conversation with him. I can check that one off my list. His response is to dismiss me as a prop, call all this a political stunt, and is disappointed the press covered my story. I guess since he thinks I'm being used as a prop, it's okay for him to do that too in his own way. My invitation is still open to meet with him if he'd like to get to know the real me and give me a chance to get to know the real him. I still think after he hears my brief, polite comments about the two issues, we can find something in common to talk about. He's in front of all those cameras all the time. We could talk about that. Maybe he could give me some pointers.

My mission now is to stand up for North Carolina's youth and McCrory's response motivates me even more in doing that. I bet you a chocolate cake that I won't need a petition to meet with some of my other legislators in NC. I bet that they would be willing to give me and my young friends 15 minutes to talk to them about pre-registering 16 and 17 year olds to vote. I also have no problem reaching out to groups who support some of the same things I support and supporting the things we agree on together. I urge other young people of North Carolina to do exactly the same thing, regardless of if those groups are liberal or conservative.




Sunday, August 18, 2013

Burdensome Youth

The Governor's office made the following statement about H589, more commonly known as the voter ID law:
"This law will also remove the bureaucratic burden of having to re-certify the address and other identifying information for under-age voters by doing away with pre-registration of 16 and 17 year olds. North Carolina was one of only eight states with the practice of “registering” teenagers too young to vote."
http://islandgazette.net/news-server5/index.php/news/local-and-state-news/state/20071-governor-mccrory-signs-popular-voter-id-into-law

Do you hear that youth of NC? We're a bureaucratic burden now.

Things not a bureaucratic burden include:
Spending up to 3.6 million dollars according to one of the original Republican chief sponsors of the voter ID legislation (others say this will cost much much more)
http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/18/2834107/new-voter-id-law-could-cost-as.html

Replacing 6 million dollars worth of voting machines in one county alone
http://myfox8.com/2013/08/12/voter-id-law-mandates-paper-ballots-by-2018/

What this nice lady is going to have to go through to get all her ID straightened out:
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/08/16/4242403/the-voters-some-would-like-to.html

Let's all hop in the TARDIS and go back in time. We don't have to go back very far, only to to 2010. Back then, the legislation that allowed 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote in NC passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was cited by FairVote as an "excellent example of how to engage young voters."
http://www.fairvote.org/voter-preregistration-legislation/#.UhEADW2XP3F

North Carolina never had a practice of registering any teenagers too young to vote. What NC did was allow 16-17 year olds to pre-register, meaning they would fill out their registration forms and those forms would be held until it was time for the verification process. When was the time for that verification process? The time for verifying the applications of teens who had pre-registered was not when they pre-registered but when they reached legal voting age. When the pre-registered teens turned 18, the information would then be verified just like the information of any other voter of any age that was newly registering.

At the time this legislation was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, the State Board of Elections said it would be able to develop software to handle pre-registrations without going over their budget. They also said that this legislation allowing teens to pre-register would make the voter rolls more accurate. According to the DMV, 16 and 17 year olds don't change addresses as often as 18 and 19 year olds.
www.fairvote.org/assets/Preregistration/NC-Preregistration-Talking-Points.pdf

Bureaucratic burden? Allowing teens to pre-register and adding them to the voter rolls when they turn 18 is no more burdensome than registering anyone else. Besides, wasn't the whole point of requiring ID to make sure people's information matched up when they went to vote?

The only bureaucratic burden I see here is that certain elected representatives in North Carolina want to continue to blow off NC's youth with answers that don't make sense in regard to eliminating the ability of 16-17 year olds to pre-register to vote.

As some of you know, I want to meet with my Governor to discuss this issue. What some of you might not know is that if he chooses not to meet with me, I'm not giving up. I'm fed up, fired up, and getting ready to organize.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fool Me Once

I got cast in a musical earlier this year. It was Legend of Zelda and when I found out about it, the nerd girl artist in me was so excited. The people putting it on made all kinds of promises about how great it would be. We were going to do this to raise money for kids with cancer. That made me feel extra good. After I was cast, I went out and asked my friends and family for money to support the production and was able to raise a good amount.

We started rehearsals. I started to get the feeling something wasn't quite right. I was supposed to have music rehearsals but no one was teaching me any music. There was no one there qualified to teach me any music. As time went on, my worst fears were confirmed. I was to go on stage in less than a month and I had no music. Lucky for me, I had resources to be able to find someone outside the organization to write a song for me. Maybe since they didn't have to worry about arranging my solo, they would have more time to work on the group numbers I was in. Unfortunately, they never worked on those numbers either. I ended up having to speak words to music.

We had lemonade stands that were supposed to raise money for the kids with cancer. But in my opinion those were more about the guy in charge making stupid videos and trying to act like a teenager. One lady had a yard sale to help raise money. She worked for weeks on it. The people in charge didn't lift a finger to help her. I never got the feeling these people were passionate about kids with cancer, but were only passionate about themselves.

Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, they did. Tech week came. Outside the church where we were putting on the production, there were materials being assembled and painted to make some sort of pillars for the stage. But the pillars weren't ever used on the stage. They ended up being used as very expensive lobby decorations. The money that built all that stuff could have gone to kids with cancer. Meanwhile, one teenage girl with help from her mom had to end up doing 90% of the costumes because otherwise no one would have had costumes at all.

The whole time all this stuff was happening, the people in charge went on and on about how great they were. Everything that went wrong was somebody else's fault. They would give the excuse after excuse after excuse. They had lots of people willing to help them who were experienced with music, directing, production, marketing, fundraising, and set design, but the people in charge knew it all.

Something good did happen during this show though. Some of the really talented and smart actors in the show knew the show was going to suck if they didn't do something. Instead of saying the lines like they were in the script, some of the actors revolted. We improvised. The audience laughed and laughed and at the end we all got a standing ovation. Some money did end up going to the kids with cancer. Not as much as there could have been but at least there was something. The people in charge walked away with all the credit even though others did all the work.

I was reminded of this whole experience today and when I started thinking about it, what happened with this show was a lot like what's happening in North Carolina right now. People were elected based on the great promises they made. Now that those people have the power they wanted, they don't care about much else. They don't use the resources they have to help the people but force the people to help themselves instead. They do the things they want to do, even when those things make no sense. They do the things they want to do with the people's money even though what they're doing isn't helping the people at all. When people warn them they aren't doing things the right way, they don't listen. It's all about them. They consider themselves a great success no matter how much money they waste. When things go wrong it's always somebody else's fault.

I think though that things have the potential in NC to turn out good for the people just like this show did for the audience. That's because a lot of people here in NC aren't going to say their lines like the people in charge want them to. They're going to speak out and let others know how those in charge have behaved and how it's effected them. They are going to rally support around the people who prove they are capable, responsible, and have the best interest of the people at heart.

You might fool us once, but we won't be fooled again after we're shown such awful behavior.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rainbow Games

Gay people. They're so cute aren't they? Awww...let's let them get married. Even though more Americans are starting to support LBGT rights, that support doesn't do much good if it's superficial. It's time for the idea that "everybody has a right to their opinion" when we discuss equality for the LBGT community to die.

No one has the right to beat gay people physically or emotionally, criminalize their relationships, or prevent them from being part of society. That's not an opinion, it's a human rights violation. Holding hands with the person you love isn't propaganda.

Standing for equality, as in really truly equality not just a few rights here and there, means putting it on the line. When it's about more than choosing where to buy a sandwich and is about choosing to be ostracized or excluded as a straight person the same way the LBGT community is being ostracized and excluded, a lot of people chicken out.

With the Olympics coming, it won't be just athletics on display. The reactions of governments, leaders, committees, corporations, spectators, and others will be on display too. Letting go of the fear of what people will think or how they will treat us at a time when such a level of homophobia is showcased to the world is important.

Every time an ally decides to put away the rainbow flag when they feel it's going to offend someone, every time one of us lets someone get away with saying, "It's fine if they want to be gay but I don't want to see them kiss or hold hands," every time we don't immediately let it be known in a group that any homophobic hate speech won't be tolerated, we're saying that LBGT rights are a matter of opinion. We're saying LBGT rights aren't human rights.

The way allies react to what's going on in Russia and to the Olympics is going to set the stage for what happens here in our own country. If the people who fear equality see that people outside the LBGT community aren't putting up much of a fuss, they're going to see it as a sign they won't have much opposition to committing future human rights violations and attempting to legislate hate.

For a long time, homophobes have tried to discourage potential allies. They've tried to say that if we support equality we are going against family values and religious liberty. They've called us Socialists, Communists, Anti-American. They try to make people scared to come out in support of the LGBT community the same way Rudolph's dad made him ashamed of his fabulous nose. If you choose the rainbow games, you'll be excluded from the reindeer games.

Now is not the time for allies to chicken out. It's time to start pointing out the hypocrisy of the homophobes who fight hard to keep LBGT rights a matter of opinion.

"Excuse me, Mr.Homophobe, now that the US government recognizes all marriages as equal and the Russian government makes "homosexual propaganda" illegal, whose policies do you support, those of the United States or Mother Russia?"


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Somewhere In Between

Yesterday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory made a You Tube video after signing legislation, which included what he called Voter ID.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykw2zre6yrQ
(Comments are disabled for this video)

According to McCrory, voter ID makes sense because you, "need photo ID to board an airplane, cash a check, or even apply for most government benefits." Then he talked about how there was recent bi-partisan action to require photo ID to buy Sudafed.

You can board an airplane, cash a check, apply for government benefits, and even get Sudafed without a photo ID. There are procedures in place for people without photo ID at the airport. According to the NC DHHS, there are many documents, including a school identification card, that can be used to prove identity when applying for benefits. You can get someone to help you cash a check and an elderly person who needs Sudafed can get it from a caregiver if they don't have photo ID. Nobody else can vote for you.

The Governor didn't talk in the video about any instances of voter fraud and how this legislation is going to help that in his opinion.

In a statement to the Durham Herald-Sun, McCrory said, "The need for photo-ID has been questioned by those who say voter fraud is not a problem in North Carolina. However, without the higher level of identification a photograph provides, is it possible to know? Even if the instances of misidentified people casting votes are low, that shouldn’t prevent us from putting this non-burdensome safeguard in place. Just because you haven’t been robbed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lock your doors at night or when you’re away from home."
http://www.heraldsun.com/opinion/x135062576/Common-sense-reforms-strengthens-the-integrity-of-state-s-elections

Now back to the video. It gets interesting as McCrory wants to "be direct." He begins to talk about how many of those from the "extreme left" who have been critical of this legislation are using "scare tactics." Check this out:
"They're more interested in divisive politics than ensure that no one's vote is disenfranchised by fraudulent ballot."


North Carolina citizens have brought up many real concerns about this legislation, including me.

Also in the Herald-Sun, McCrory made the following statement:
"Pre-registration of people too young to vote is another practice that will end."

This is in a paragraph that talks about registration integrity. I don't appreciate the integrity of my concerns being pawned off as "divisive politics"when the legislation that made it possible for teens to pre-register to vote was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. I don't consider it to be "scare tactics" when I bring up that pre-registration is possible in states like Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Rhode Island and Washington DC at 16 and that Alaska, California, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Wyoming allow pre-registration at 17.

I know people I'd consider as extreme left and people I'd consider as extreme right. Most people I know are somewhere in between.



Once again, I feel let down by the responses of my leadership. First I get cake, now this. Someday this in-between will be old enough to vote and I'm not voting for anything on the menu from the left or the right that tastes like this.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dear Maddie

I thought I'd share some of the questions I get most often and answer them in case anyone else has the same question. Some of these aren't the actual questions just a paraphrasing of the general idea.

"Why did you start that petition?"

After the cookie and cake incident, I had about a day of joining in the jokes with people. I read McCrory's response on the cookies and the spokesperson's response to the cake and I wasn't satisfied with either one. I felt that some people weren't taking me seriously about how the response from that spokesperson about the cake made me feel. I decided to get serious. One of my friends was already suggesting I meet with the Governor and even sent that message to him. I thought, why not? I'd at least be trying to make some good come out of the whole baked goods affair.

"Where do you go to school?"

I don't and I never have. Right now, I'm working on getting some of my high school credits finished so I can plan for college. I don't know if I want to do early college like some of my friends have. We have dual enrollment here where you can take college credits while still in high school (if they don't cut that even more too by the time I get there) and I think I will do that first. I learn a lot on my own. Homeschooling doesn't have to be a thing where you sit down at a table and your mom gives you lessons. It really doesn't look like that for many of my friends. A lot of the teachers I do have for classes I choose to take are current or former public school teachers or college professors. Most of my friends still in school go to public school. Just because you don't go to public school doesn't mean you can't support it.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

My standard answer to that question is, "It hasn't been invented yet." I really don't think of my life in terms of planning for one big things. I kind of decide what I want to be doing with my life right now and how I get there. I love the arts. I love acting, working backstage, dancing, painting, taking photographs, fashion, and I just like to create in general. I want to direct a show. That's a big goal for me right now. I think about a future life where I can keep doing the things I love and have enough skills that are useful to have money to keep doing those things. Honestly, I don't see myself going into politics. The thought of going to school to do that isn't appealing. I'd love to be a makeup artist for the First Lady and get to hang around the outskirts of all the politics though.

"Does anybody help you write your blog?"

Writing it no. I do have a friends, people I've met through classes and such, I might ask to read something to see if it makes sense. The thoughts are no problem. It's organizing things that's harder for me. If I let somebody read what I wrote I usually end up taking things away or moving things around. I rarely add. The things I read are the biggest help and I do get some of my ideas for things I discuss with my friends on social media. I said before I think of writing a lot like I think of fashion. Instead of putting outfits and accessories together, it's words and ideas.

"Isn't there plenty of time to worry about this when you grow up?"

Actually when I grow up there will probably be less time because I hope to be much busier then. The whole "you sound like an adult" thing has been beyond annoying to me for years. One of my goals in life is to become an adult so if I happen to be demonstrating well that I'm learning how to be that, isn't that a good thing? I enjoy hanging out with friends, shopping, playing video games, just laying around and being a lazy teenager, and lots of other things other kids enjoy. I don't limit myself to anything. I don't compartmentalize myself.

"What is your family like?"

If you knew me and knew my parents, you'd be laughing as hard as we are at any suggestion they put me up to any of this. My parents are my biggest supporters in anything I want to do, however. When I was younger, if I had an interest they would help me find people with that interest and adults that could mentor me. I've been doing those things myself for awhile now. If I ask for a class they pay for it. If I want or need to go somewhere they almost always drive me. Sometimes I pay for gas or buy  lunch. I have a lot of freedom but I'm expected to not abuse it and I think that's fair. Think of helicopter parents and then think of the opposite and that would be my parents. My grandparents are a big part of my life too. My Mamu tells the best stories out of anyone I know. My Pop Pop, a Republican who watches Fox News, is good at practical jokes and math.

"What do you hope will be the outcome of all this?"

I hope the outcome will be a conversation with my Governor. I believe I've been reasonable in my request. If that doesn't happen I hope other young people, especially girls, see they can have a voice and they can get involved in issues that are important to them. I hope the next time adults meet someone my age they might treat them with a higher expectation of being a functional human being. Most of all, I hope other people get behind the idea that democracy is about regular people and that trying to make a change for the better is much better than endlessly arguing with people in a futile attempt to change their minds.