It felt pretty awesome [when I voted by mail]. It felt a little bit surreal because it was my first time doing it, but it felt like I was actually making a change, like a difference in the way America is run. I said to myself, “Hey, I have to vote this year.” It's so important for our young generation to get out there and vote.

I think it's very, very important for us to vote. Because, at this point, we have no other choice. Voting is one of our options to fix the way America is managed right now. But then again: there are certain very big issues happening that are gonna be really hard for us to change, and it just shows we have a really long way to go.

Remaining optimistic

I definitely consider myself an idealistic person. I feel like we, at this point, have no other choice. We can either sit at home and think about how terrible these social issues are, or we can go outside and get together at protests and rallies, and brainstorm ways that we can make change happen. 

My dad said to me the other day, “You know, I could see you being in politics as you get older. It seems like something you're passionate about.” For me, personally, I don't really know if I'd want to get involved with politics, because I know it's a messy game. On the other hand, it would also be important for me to show younger, little Black kids that you can do this. It's possible to be a Black woman in control of politics, and being seen as such an important person who has the power to fix all these different issues.

On divisiveness in America

I've had the conversation of Black Lives Matter, and certain things like that, with certain types of family members, and sometimes I get the response, “Yeah, I know the protest is important. But that doesn't mean that looting’s OK. That doesn't mean that vandalizing is OK.” 

I do understand that. But then again, they won't listen to us unless we destroy things. It doesn't mean it's good. But then again, this wouldn’t have even been on the news if some sort of destruction wasn’t happening, because they just don't think that we're important as a people. You should be more concerned about Black trans women being killed and Black men being killed by police officers than you care about a Target or than you care about some other large corporate business that will be totally fine.

Gen-Z’s legacy

I think one thing we've been really working towards is social justice, like Black Lives Matter. We've also been working towards being more accepting of the different types of people, such as the LGBT community, and really understanding us and why we are the way we are, and that's something I'd love for us to be remembered for. I know that once we get together, we can accomplish some really amazing things.

How 2020 will be remembered

It's hard to even count how many things we've gone through this year. I don't think anyone really expected 2020 to be like this. But I think kids in history books will realize like, “Wow”—what we really went through back then especially being a young person growing up. 

It's a little bit weird, because I've personally always felt like I was born in the wrong decade, but taking a look back now on how many things we've just accomplished this past year, it almost feels like there was a reason why I was born in this specific time. And I'm really proud to be growing up now. We still have a long way to go, but I'm glad that we're getting somewhere.

[This article is based on an interview conducted and condensed by Alex Nunes.]

Alex Nunes can be reached at anunes@thepublicsradio.org.