Opinion: What we can learn from a 12-year-old

Christina Bucciere is a senior journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at cbuccier@kent.edu.

Christina Bucciere is a senior journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Christina Bucciere

You may or may not have heard of Madison Kimrey. This 12-year-old North Carolina girl recently made headlines for firing back at the North Carolina government, particularly Gov. McCrory, for passing a new law that bans pre-registration rights for 16 and 17-year-olds.

Earlier this year, Kimrey gained attention for protesting outside the Governor’s Executive Mansion. Kimrey asked McCrory for a meeting to discuss the purpose of the new law. McCrory denied her request, and, in an August interview, said Kimrey was part of “very liberal groups using children as props to push a far-left agenda.”

Well, Kimrey did not appreciate his statement. She made her feelings known last week in Burlington when she spoke to a group of “Moral Monday” protesters, a group of activists who meet every Monday to oppose an action of the North Carolina legislature.

Stepping up to the podium and pulling the microphone down to meet her tiny frame, Kimrey roared.

She pounds her fists and speaks with an unbelievable conviction for someone of such a young age. She leaves no doubt that she is paying attention and makes it clear she doesn’t like what she sees.

She states, “I am not a prop! I am part of the new generation of suffragettes, and I will not stand silent while laws are passed to reduce the amount of voter turnout by young people in my home state.”

Regardless of political biases or how you might feel about the justification for such a law, Kimrey can teach us all a few things.

She shows us there is no right time to start using your voice, and there is no excuse not to use it.

Every 12-year-old may not be as self-evolved as Kimrey, but she shows us that they can be.

She shows us that it’s never too early to take action.

And if a 12-year-old girl can recognize the power of her voice, then the opposite is also true. You are never too young, and you are never too old to make a difference.

There is no prime activism age. There are only problems and those who have the guts to do something about them.

What’s more, Kimrey destroys the pessimistic notion that one person can’t make a change. And maybe it takes more than one person to carry out a change to the end, but it does take one to start the fire. To ignite the passion in others.

Kimrey makes me believe in the possibility of change again. Recently it’s seemed impossible to go one day without tragedy striking. The recent government shutdown, too, added to the nation’s pain. This never ending turmoil makes it difficult to believe in a better world. Do I want change? Yes. But will I do anything to make that happen? Probably not. It didn’t seem like there was any point in trying anymore.

But a 12-year-old girl came into my life and showed me there is hope. It starts with paying attention, and it prospers by choosing to honor the power of your voice.