In January, I launched a new blog and brand, Another Day Greener, as a way to educate others on an issue that shouldn’t be political, but in 2020 it is: saving our planet and resolving the climate crisis.
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One of the reasons I’m voting this year is because I see the growing momentum to end police brutality. And it hits home for me.
In 2016, I messed up. It was my first time voting and I had mistakenly thought that I was registered to vote in Virginia, my home state, but it turns out I was still registered in my New York, where I had attended university. I did not check my voter registration until the day before the election, I did not check voter registration deadlines, and I did not have time to get an absentee ballot.
As an aspiring nurse and current pharmacy technician, I and my loved ones are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am begging you to vote. Everything is at stake this election, be it COVID-19 relief, health care, or the rights and justice for Black lives. We need to make sure we and everyone we know go out and vote. That’s why I’m participating in MoveOn’s Your Vote Is Power campaign, so I can share information with my audience so they can get out their vote.
The first time I learned that I was different was in 7th grade. My cheerleading coach retired, and we all re-auditioned to stay on the team for the new coach. I was the only person who wasn’t invited to re-join the team. I was also the only black girl on the team.
As an athlete, sports taught me to be confident and use your confidence to raise your voice. As an Olympian, the games taught me that when we all come together, we are greater than the sum of each of us apart. But before 2016, I had never raised my voice to vote at the ballot box. Before 2016, I didn’t believe that my vote coming together with other votes really mattered.
In 2016, I was sitting in my high school English class when we got the news: Donald Trump had been elected president. I wasn’t old enough to vote yet and my parents, who are undocumented, couldn’t vote either. Therefore, we could not make our voices heard. Meanwhile, my class erupted in cheers. The President had spent the last year running on hurting families like mine, calling Mexicans rapists and promising to deport as many immigrants as he could. Like the President, my classmates made nasty, hurtful comments while the teacher stood by, doing nothing.
What do voting and being a sustainable fashion blogger have in common? As a sustainable fashion blogger who also gets to the ballot box every election, my answer is: a lot more than you might think.
The personal is political. The fashion so many consume is made by women exploited in other countries. The food we eat is made by processes that damage our environment. My Black brothers walking down the street at night makes me worried because of systemic racism in our police systems.
I used to be someone who didn’t think their vote mattered. I grew up thinking “I’m one person, the government doesn’t interest me, why even vote?” But I know now that I was wrong. This year, I’m trying to make up for the vote that I didn’t cast last time by getting myself and my audience to vote.