Written by Yanique Bundick, 9th Grade, YW LEAD Participant
Going to the Rally Against Family Separation in Washington, DC with YWCA Brooklyn was truly a life changing experience. Before joining YWCA Brooklyn’s LEAD program, I never thought I would be participating in such meaningful advocacy work. Never in my life did I ever think that I would go to Washington, DC and I especially didn’t think I would be going there to protest anything. Being a first generation Haitian American woman, I grew up constantly being reminded that I have to be a lady at all times and most times that meant being seen and not heard. Being part of YWCA Brooklyn taught me that my voice matters and it is meant to be heard. I have come to learn that I am the change that I want to see in the world and in order for changes to be made, young people like myself have to put pressure on the older generations to get things done.
On the bus ride to DC my mind was racing. I had heard so many things about rallies and protests that I didn’t know what to expect. “Is the protest going to become violent?” “Is there going to be a lot of crying?” “Is change actually going to come from my presence?” “Am I about to get lost?” All of these things, among so many others, were racing through my head and I had so many emotions rushing through my body.
Ironically, as soon as my YWCA Brooklyn friends and I got into the city closer to the rally site, all the anxiety, negative emotions and negative thoughts left my mind. I instantly became excited to fight for what I believe in. For the first time in my life, I was using my voice to make a change and I was not being the quiet young lady that my parents taught me to be. I was finally growing into the person I always dreamt I would be but never really thought I would become.
Going to the Rally Against Family Separation in Washington, DC as part of the YWCA gave me hope in the United States. It was so comforting to be surrounded by thousands of people who were fighting against the same thing that I am. People are getting killed on a daily basis. People are living in poverty and homelessness. People are being incarcerated at inhumane rates. Young children are being separated from their families every moment. But despite all the negative things taking place in the world, so many people came together to stand up for what is right. Although there are bad people who are ignorant about the experiences of the majority of the population, there are also people, including me, who are fighting for change.
Going to the rally taught me that I am a strong young woman who has a voice. Being part of YWCA Brooklyn is providing me the support of so many people who don’t only want me to be successful but also want to help me fight for the changes I want to see in the world.