Like many of you, I’ve spent the past several days reflecting on the results of last week’s election and trying to understand what it means for our country, our state, and for NC Child. Clearly, there are deep divisions that we must acknowledge, learn from, and adapt to.
What hasn’t changed is who we are and what we believe in. We care deeply and passionately about children. They are our future, and we will continue to do everything in our power to make this a better state and country for them. Brandi Slaughter, President and CEO of Voices for Ohio’s Children, expresses this sentiment eloquently in a blog post published the day after the election:
“Last night, I went to bed a child advocate. This morning, I woke up a child advocate. As families across the nation grapple with explaining election results to their children, Voices’ message remains the same to all kids: ‘You are important. You deserve to be safe, healthy, educated, connected and employable. Your interests should be at the top of every agenda.’ Our work is steady and remains focused on the future.”
We don’t yet know what a Trump presidency will bring. Many of the things he said on the campaign trail were hurtful, intolerant, and threatening to children and families of color, religious minorities, and women. In the wake of his election, we’re seeing widespread racist, xenophobic, and homophobic bullying and threats directed not only at adults, but also at children. This behavior is unacceptable and demands a response from President-elect Trump and all elected officials who supported his candidacy. NC Child will never hesitate to stand up for tolerance, inclusion, and compassion. We hope our elected leaders will do so as well, publicly and quickly.
In the end, the fate of our state and our nation depends upon our collective ability to put the well-being of children above ideology and party affiliation. We call on our newly elected officials, from President-elect Trump all the way down to our newest state legislators, to govern with your eyes toward the future and make decisions based on what you want tomorrow to look like. Children can’t vote now, but they will soon become the citizens, parents, teachers, business people, and leaders of the state and country that is now in your hands.
And please in the days ahead, remember that every child has value. Every child has potential. Every child deserves our best efforts to protect them and safeguard their well-being. Every. Single. One.
Michelle Hughes is the Executive Director of NC Child, the voice for North Carolina’s children.