#BringItHome: Why I’m Still Hopeful After Working on the Andrew Gillum Campaign

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for me, and yet they were nothing compared to November 6 and the days that followed. Even as I write this, ballots are being collected, recounts are approaching and Andrew Gillum has retracted his concession. Still, I somehow went to bed on Tuesday disappointed and angry but woke on Wednesday ready to push forward. Here’s why:

I Did Everything I Could

I encourage everyone to volunteer for a campaign at some point for multiple reasons. While interning for the Gillum campaign, I met some amazing people who shared my values and dreams for the future. I got to talk to the people of my community, attend rallies (even meeting Bernie Sanders) and build up an impressive collection of “Gillum for Governor” merchandise. Most importantly, I got to take action and do what was in my power to support a candidate I believed in so that on election night, while saddened, I didn’t have any regrets.

Diversity Won

While Florida, unfortunately, could not lead the pack by electing our first African-American Governor, others all around the country took big steps into the future. According to USA Today,113 women will be filling seats in Congress in the next couple of months and among them are women of color, LGBTQ women and Muslim women. Meanwhile, nine women and an openly gay man were elected governor. I know that they will all have long, successful careers, and I look forward to seeing the good they’ll do for our country.

We Took the House

Democrats took the House on Tuesday and that means we FINALLY have a seat at the table. After two years of having no leverage at all, we now have the power to stop legislation, investigate corruption in the administration and actually represent the majority of the population. America took to the polls in astonishing numbers for a midterm election, and said enough was enough!

The Movement Continues

Tuesday felt like a setback, a disappointment to those of us who hoped for progressive change. It’s easy, after a loss like this, to feel stifled by the establishment, to question the worth of your vote and to give up. But I’m NOT giving up, and you shouldn’t either.

From the birth of this nation, movements for equality and for change have met setbacks. It took decades for women to be given the right to vote and even longer for women of color. In many ways, we still fight the battles of Martin Luther King Jr. and Stonewall; for justice to prevail and for all people to finally be treated equally. As we try to push this movement forward, remember the history and the sacrifice of those who came before. They had hope for a brighter future in darker times than ours, and it’s our job to keep that hope alive.  

All in all, I am PROUD, and a little envious, of the states that are making leaps and bounds, but for those of us in states that are tiptoeing into that better future, KEEP FIGHTING. As progressives—as young people—we get the privilege of working towards a future we believe in. We know who we are and what we stand for. We don’t have to vilify the unknown or live in fear of change. So, as we move on from this, remember the little things you can do to make your community better. Give time to a cause, smile at a stranger, protest, petition. It doesn’t have to take extra hours out of your day; after a while, it won’t even take an extra thought. And keep in mind what you fight FOR. I look at my loved ones, my family and friends, my niece and nephew and I know to #BringItHome.

Images: Hero, 1 credit to author, 23