Aug. 26marks the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The 19th Amendment is less than 30 words long, but it was powerful enough to change the future and provided a voice for women in the United States. Currently 21 years old, I am one of those women granted a voice and a vote that matters.
In December of 2006, my family suffered a devastating loss. My mother passed away suddenly at the age of 39 in our home from heart-related complications. My father could not stand to stay in that home, so he moved in early 2007 to a new house 30 minutes away. He didn’t wait until the previous house had sold before purchasing a new one because the housing market was booming and the realtor was highly optimistic the old house would sell for a great profit in a short amount of time.
In 2007 more and more houses in our town went up for sale. We soon began to notice that no one seemed to be in the market for a new home, and our sad house remained empty. My father was struggling to pay for both homes by the end of 2007. Rumors of a housing market crash were in the air, and we didn’t want to believe we were right in the middle of the hardship. Many families were trying to live the American dream by purchasing homes they could not afford and living on false hope in their mortgage lenders. We were not a family pursuing the American dream by moving, but one trying to forget about a tragic day in our past and move on.
On Nov. 4, 2008, I helped to change the lives of United States citizens. I was 19 years old and of legal age to vote. I researched the campaign promises of each candidate. I especially focused on what their plans were in regards to the job market and stabilizing the economy. This economic hardship had already knocked my family to their knees, but I knew with the right president in office we might be able to get back up.
After careful deliberation, I selected my candidate, and on Nov. 4 I showed up with thousands of other college students to cast my vote. I stood in line for hours waiting for my chance to make a difference. As I stood there, I thought about how less than 100 years ago my voice would not have made a difference. I applaud those who fought for my right to vote, and I will use it to change the future of United States citizens in the best possible way.
We are on a long road to economic recovery, but we will get there eventually. My father’s house remained empty during 2008 and 2009. During this time my father had a slowdown at his factory, and many jobs were lost. He has been there for 15 years, so he held on the longest, but even he suffered layoffs and a loss of overall income and benefits. Only recently in 2010 did he sell the first house. He is working harder every day, and he has never given up. We showed up on Election Day to change to change his future and mine.