We Are Thankful You Showed Up

“We did it! We won!” Cheers erupted from rooftops, windows, and through the streets. Joe Biden had won the 2020 election. And for the first time this year, people filled the streets to celebrate, not to protest. We were hopeful, grateful, thankful - especially for the record number of voters who showed up to make a difference.

This Thanksgiving, we highlight the stories of three very different “first time” voters on what they’re grateful for and their hopes for the future.

First time voting (Arizona)

1. What are you most grateful for right now?

I am most grateful that everything has turned out okay despite all the hurdles life has thrown at me in 2020.

2. Why did this election matter for you?

This election was the first time I was old enough to participate and influence the direction of our country. It was also a time when fundamental issues like racism and COVID were hugely prominent in the minds of the public and these are things that I care about. It wasn't just voting for the next president, it was voting for my values, and taking a stand for what I believe, and against what I will not tolerate.

3. Did you think Arizona would turn blue? 

I did think Arizona would turn blue, even though this was the first time in 24 years that the Democrats won in Arizona. Most of the Arizonans I know who are my age and are politically active and on social media were supporting Biden. Another reason was just my disbelief that our state would turn red despite all the red flags that I had seen. I hope that this new administration will unite our country and address the foundational issues that inspired record numbers of citizens to come out and vote this year.

First time voting blue (Rhode Island)

1. What are you most grateful for right now?

I am currently most grateful for my health, my job, and my support system. This year has no doubt been the hardest in terms of losing my job, leaving NYC for 5 months, and being in a pandemic where several emotions ran through my mind. Overall, being healthy, having found a new job, and having my amazing friends and family have been the biggest blessing.

2. What made you vote blue for the first time?

I voted blue for the first time in my life because of the threat of losing my rights as a gay Hispanic male. I am also a brother, cousin, nephew, and son of strong female figures, and seeing the gender equality being reversed in some notions really put a wrench into my thought process. For the first time, I did not see dollar signs, I saw humans and their rights being taken away.

3. What are your hopes for Biden's administration?

My hopes are that they choose a team that is able to lead by example using advanced thought processes. Our great nation was built on a democracy where people should be heard and seen. So my major expectation is for them to unify the USA so we can all claim this fundamental right.

First time voting as a mom (Michigan)

1. What are you most grateful for right now?

I’m grateful that the people I care about are in good health and living out their lives happily despite the pandemic. I’m grateful to have a roof over my head, food on the table, and enough to be entertained and relax, and to get the education that I wanted. I’m grateful for this privilege.

2. What does this election mean for your family?

I am hopeful that the country will no longer be represented by a president that does not stand for justice and the truth. However, where the new president stands on the issue with North Korea is less hopeful. Since Biden was VP to former President Obama, who heavily pressured North Korea, it is expected that he will too. Putting pressure on an already isolated country with nuclear weapons raises many concerns that could impact my home country, South Korea. As a Korean family, this election could mean bad news. We’ll have to wait and see!

3. What changes do you hope to see in the next 4 years?

I hope Biden's administration can improve:

  • the ballot system to fix its flaws

  • the justice system that favors the rich over the poor

  • law enforcement that unfairly uses force against people of color

  • the tax system to decrease the wealth gap between the rich and poor

  • the mass incarceration system that puts people in jail for low level crimes

  • the education system to provide better funding for teachers and quality compulsory education for everyone

  • the response to the current pandemic and future pandemics

  • America's reputation as a voice for justice, equality, and a better quality of living

Header Image: "Future Voter"

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