The events in Charlottesville, Virginia, were violent and horrendous, but above all, they were completely preventable in my opinion. In order to avoid similar atrocities, we must encourage understanding and acceptance of differences at a younger age.
Oftentimes, a person is not encouraged to look at opposing perspectives until they reach the more analytical, discussion-based environment of college courses. At this point, it may be entirely too late. A student has likely reached a point of confidence in their identity, and it is incredibly difficult to reverse habits and ideologies that have been solidifying for almost twenty years.
I feel that I have already solidified my beliefs of inclusion, and participating in events such as the Atlanta Women’s March, allows me to proudly stand with what I believe. Setting the example for younger children will allow them to develop differently. This, coupled with group events like marches and rallies, will show others that it is honorable to have the courage to stand for what they believe.
Because of this, I make an effort to encourage acceptance and unity when I am around younger children. As a volunteer in elementary school classrooms, I have many opportunities to promote this behavior. Exposing the students to inclusive behavior is as easy as setting the example. They will quickly pick up on the behavior, model it, and solidify it as one of their own. This alone can foster unity, as those unsure of their beliefs or afraid of retaliation have a group with whom to stand.