Ballots Not Bullets
In early March of 2018, I created a small set of buttons in response to the over-whelming gun violence our country had seen year-to-date. The response and the buttons were a small gift for my students. I used this gesture to start a conversation and encourage students to take action by voting in the upcoming primary and mid-term elections.
As a context, we discussed how, according to the US Census Bureau, less than 50 percent of Americans ages 18–29 participate in elections. We unanimously agreed that turnout could be stronger at all levels—primaries, local and national; that we need to exercise our voice whenever necessary, not just every four years; and that even the smallest act (or object) can have a large impact.
As someone who lived through a school shooting at Northern Illinois University in 2008—this topic is significant to me. Although, I was not in the room that day, I was in a building just down the road. That day I experienced the visceral shock that these events have on an institution and a community.
In the wake of these events, we have seen the future leaders of our country stand up and insist on action from lawmakers. I was inspired by these young people. These events and how we respond to them are a reflection of our country and our humanity.