We Were Empowered to Change the Circumstances

For the past eight years, America has been living under a false assumption. Having the opportunity to live through the presidency of the first African-American male, we assumed that the majority of American people had developed a more progressive way of thinking; that we could all finally strive with all of our differences aside. “We’ve had an African-American president. Why not have a female one too?” Alas, everyone in America, and around the world in general, are still not ready to accept the new wave of thought (or in other words, the idea of a woman holding power in office). Hillary Clinton may not have been an ideal candidate, but it definitely disappointed many people when she was not chosen as the next commander in chief.

But even so, the results shouldn’t have shocked a lot of us. Women are disproportionately underrepresented in positions of political leadership. We account for half the U.S. population, yet we have almost no say in what affects our daily lives. The leaders at Ignite National, a non-profit organization based in Oakland, California, are here to change that.

On November 19, 2016, a group of young women came together with a single goal: to instill political power in every woman. Students from Agnes Scott College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University engaged in focused discussions, ranging from the outcome of the 2016 presidential election to the disenfranchisement of minority Americans and the interconnect between the two. Held in the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia, the conference was intended to empower young college students, and “ignite” a flame of political motivation.

The conference included a complimentary tour of the museum, which provided an experience that highlighted the extraordinary individuals who contributed to the progress of civil rights across the world. Witnessing exhibits that highlighted the accomplishments of so many trailblazers invigorated the attitudes of the attendees of the College Council. The videos, images, and artifacts symbolized a struggle for equality that continues today. For residents of Atlanta especially, these artifacts represent the history of the blood, sweat, and tears that were shed to create a better life for so many oppressed people.

Equality in politics is the main goal at Ignite, and the College Council focused on moving on from the shocks of the election. Unfortunately, many people feel as though the election is an indication of a step back from the accomplishments of those who fought tirelessly before us to achieve equality in this nation. Ignite is working to empower young women to move forward from disappointment, and to use their talents to better the world we all live in.

Often times women are discouraged from holding positions of leadership. With the help from Ignite, we want to change that. We want to encourage more women to step up and claim their power in political leadership. We would like other young women to do the same.  For more information, or to encourage a young woman you know to run for office, visit, www.ignitenational.org.

 

All photos courtesy of Ignite National