Teen Vogue Summit #TurnUp 2018
Earlier this June, I got the amazing opportunity to attend the second Teen Vogue summer in New York. Not only was the experience of traveling alone to the Big Apple a dream, but the summit was everything I didn’t know I needed.
Truth be told, I have never been really involved in politics. I even tried to avoid conversations revolving around the political as much as possible. And I recognize that privilege I have. Not everyone can remain out of the political conversations that are going on around the country. For that reason, I have a deep respect for those standing up and taking action towards a brighter future within our society. And a promise to do better.
From gun laws and mental health and environmental change to periods, all attendees got the opportunity to dip our toes in conversations that affect us everyday. And while it would have been easy for all the speakers to look at the negativity in their projects, everyone spoke from a deep rooted strength from within themselves and the projects they are part of. Not one person dwelled on the negative nor did they focus on the past. Everyone understood that the past is exactly that. The problems and issues they confront are not past tense, like some politicians would like us to believe. They are present tense and everyone looked to the future for the affect of the change they are demanding.
Still, everyone recognized the pain and hurt with grace. Because with out the pain, there is no room for healing to take place. And that was a powerful thing to acknowledge. Especially in a room filled with young people. Because despite what media and society says, Teen Vogue believes that Generation Z and Millennials are not killing anything other than useless laws, regulations, ways of thinking, and practices that are no longer serving us.
Between moments of silence, freestyles, amazing panels, and inspiring conversations, Teen Vogue has managed to mobilize a generation of young people to stand up for the things that they believe in despite what anyone else has to say. Teen Vogue decided to honor that there are no talkers in this generations, just doers and it was so empowering to be in a room filled with people that will one day have some affect on the the future of the nation.
I was took a risk by going to this event. It was the weekend before my last week of school ever and finals were already coming fast. But it turned out to be exactly what I needed. Just the two days actually spent at the event, my bullet journal was brimming with notes and ideas. My mind was clear and I was able to come up with an outline for an essay due later that week. I felt confident and ready to tackle whatever was coming my way. And it occurred to me that this is the same risk, but on a much grander scale, that Teen Vogue was trying to encourage.
Teen Vogue hosted an incredible event that first weekend in June encouraging young people to vote and be politically active for a cause that they believe in. Which, contrary to old beliefs, is not selfish, but is patriotic. Notable change agents like Dolores Huerta encouraged us to use our outdoor voices to speak up and fight for what we believe in. Performers and artists like Amara la Negra encouraged everyone to strive for more than “good enough” because we deserve so much more than that.
I, at the end of the weekend, found a voice that I did not know I had. Or maybe had lost sight of. But it was fueled by the fire of a strong community that fights for what they believe in. That was the greatest success of them all, for me at least.
So while it is easy for most of society to focus on the negative that is occurring in the country or to be discouraged by the events that are taking place, Teen Vogue turned the feeling of “we lost” into a movement that is capitalizing on the power and strength of the youth in America. Thank you Teen Vogue for trusting us to carry this torch into a brighter future. I look forward to seeing all the brave and beautiful things that we do.