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



  1. I'm glad you're having a wonderful life. I feel it is very important for everyone to have passion in their life (and I'm not talking about the kind of passion you might see in a soap opera).

    You obviously have found your passions. I, for one, am very happy that you're in the same world as me. It gives me great hope for the future.

    1. Agreed. Hope is just out of reach, until someone helps you get to it.

  2. While I don't agree with all of your views, I do happen to agree with you on your views on preregistration for teenagers. I admire your courage for standing up for our rights as the children of this nation. You inspire me. Having somewhat ridiculed the leaders of this state to point out the issues in leadership is something I would have feared doing. Ridiculed may be a strong word, though. Pointing out the flaws in their statements is what you did, and I can't say how proud I am of you for standing up for us. Just one person brave enough to spark a flame can set a fire that later becomes a raging inferno. I do believe the leaders of the North Carolina State Government have something huge against what they call minors. We can do major things if we were given the chance. To be shoved away and ignored isn't giving us that chance. I sent a letter to Governor Pat McCrory, to which he didn't reply, and that was months ago. It was for a good cause. As part of a school project, me and my partner tried to bring light to the issue of homelessness. We didn't even get an automatic, pre-typed reply, like we weren't good enough for someone to be bothered with even reading our letter. Thank you so much for igniting the flame. When your flame has been exposed to something dry with irritation at being ignored, you will create something huge.

  3. Dear Madison,
    It's possible you've already done everything I'm about to suggest.

    I think you could write an amazing book that will help young readers who are interested in these topics, but don't know how to begin--it could be part essays, part memoir, part how-to. You're accessible, smart and responsibly funny--and, unfortunately, these aren't traits commonly associated with young activists.

    You could change that.

    With nonfiction--again, you may already know this--you don't need a full book to secure interest; you need a proposal (about 35 pages) and sample chapters (an additional 50).

    With the #YesAllWomen tag, I think New York, and the world, would be very receptive. And nonfiction for the YA audience is doing very well right now.

    If there's ever anything I can do to help you--whether that's helping you put together a proposal or query letter, or knowing how to get this into the right hands, or even just answering your questions about how all this works--our industry isn't great with transparency--please let me know.

    I'm so impressed by everything you've accomplished so far. But I think this could help you reach more people--and be useful to you, too, as a sort of proof (when I was younger, people were always questioning this) that, yes, you may be young and female, but you have something important to say.

    Whatever happens--good luck out there.

    All best wishes,

    Jessica Sinsheimer
    The Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
    Jessica at SarahJaneFreymann dot com