Being an English teacher, I’ve suspected for a long time that the United States was heading in a dark direction from the books in our children’s hands. While authors who write fiction, write fake stories, much can be gleaned from the themes and events within the novel itself–reading the mood of the time for instance.

The prevalent dystopian themes in young adult fiction have become so present that they are now commonplace, and because they’re so popular with teens, I have been wondering if this is how they perceive the world. Will they have to be the character that bucks the system: Tris from Divergent, Katniss from The Hunger Games, Thomas from The Maze Runner, Jonas from The Giver? Are these representations of the world around us, and are these the protagonists our children aspire to be?

After election night, and Friday’s inauguration, it seemed as if these protagonists were proper molds for our younger generation, however after today’s demonstration in women’s marches across not only the country, but the world, I am left with hope for the first time in a few weeks.

When I traveled downtown today, I didn’t see fear, anger, or violence, but a town bubbling with pride in the wake of this political upheaval. Pride in the America they have grown up knowing, pride in each other for utilizing the right to free speech, and pride in coming together in solidarity for the common good of the country. Maybe the protagonists of the young generation won’t have to make self sacrificing decisions to make the right decisions–maybe we will find the support in each other by the masses and fight the system with our dancing in the streets, our signs, our signatures, and our perseverance.

Today, I encountered first hand Lincoln’s national mantra, “A government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We have remembered our place in this democracy, regained the use of our voices, gained sisters and brothers in global protests, and…it is only the first day. This excites me for the Great American Awakening!

Let’s make history together in this journey towards saving our human freedoms and our precious protected lands!