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Dublin High School Freshman Hosting Net Neutrality Protest This Thursday

December 4, 2017

DUBLIN, CA–I’ve met so many adults that don’t understand why kids even get involved in the community. Sure, they applaud us if we accomplish something, but they bet on our failures if we take on a project that adults would normally do. They count the hours before our “immaturity” or “irresponsibility” ruins the project. If we do indeed fail, they pat our backs and tell us that it was okay because we are just kids. Although it sounds reassuring, it accentuates how little some adults expect from us. So how do we as kids avoid the fear of fulfilling this stereotype? We don’t participate. We don’t get involved in our community. We don’t dare to do anything that an adult does typically. After all, an adult always does it better. Right?

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In middle school, I joined an organization that would change my perspective on exactly how much difference a kid could make. The advisor of that club is the one who encouraged me to write this article. She would always leave projects to us, the board, to facilitate, and would simply help if we needed guidance. Her firm belief was that the youth contained enormous amounts of potential, but it simply wasn’t known or expressed. With a team of about twenty youths leading over two hundred students, we the board started fundraisers, raised awareness, and even hosted a regional conference. We followed in the footsteps of the previous board, and we passed the legend on as we moved into high school. However, something that we kept for ourselves was the understanding of a youth’s potential. With this mindset, we pressured ourselves to think outside of the box. We took charge and crafted our own paths. This revered knowledge was a maxim that we lived by.

During Thanksgiving Break, I was scrolling through YouTube like a cliché teenager and decided to catch up on a few videos that I had missed because of school. Of course, I went first to my favorite YouTuber’s channel and clicked on his most recent video. He carried out his standard introduction, but focused suddenly on a current event that I hadn’t heard of before. He spoke passionately and swiftly about something called “Net Neutrality.” With intriguing ideas and arguments, this YouTuber had started something in me I hadn’t felt too much of in the past few weeks. I felt a deep passion and desire to raise awareness to this widespread issue. I clicked the link in the description, battleforthenet.com, which led me to tabs with petitions, ways to contact your local Congressman, and lastly, protests. I was eager to join a protest since I had already been in a few before. However, I realized that there were no available protests in our area.

That’s when it hit me. What if I start a protest?

The arguably “logical” side of me provided all sorts of worries. Is it even legal for a kid to start a protest? Is there a permit? How can I, a mere fetus at the age of 14, get people to come? Although I was passionate, I shut myself down, because I was afraid I would fail. After all, the entirety of the protests I had seen and been in before were not only leaders and professionals: they were adults. What will people think when they show up and see a kid as their host? That’s only saying that if people even show up.

I had a raging battle inside me for days. To do, or not to do: that is the question. I asked my friends, and they were indifferent. I asked my parents, and they thought that it was risky. I was about to submit to my fear when I thought of my advisor from middle school. I sat down and immediately emailed her, making it clear that I had passion and zeal, but also noting my worries. I nervously refreshed my email every few hours to check for a response.

The next morning, her reply popped on the top of the list. Her exact words were this: “Of course I am going to say what you already know – DO IT! Young people create change and you are no exception to that rule.” She then gave me advice for publicity and execution as I beamed at her response. My deeply buried principle came rushing to the surface again. My potential was there, but I just chose to ignore it those few days.

Without a doubt, I signed up to host the first net neutrality protest in Dublin.

As I am writing this article, I realize that I have only four days to pull off a protest, and that inevitable fear comes back again. Which is why, dear reader, I need your help. Help me realize just how much potential I have by signing up for my protest on December 7th, 4:40 PM. Help me confirm the belief that the youth can do what an adult can do by spreading the news about the protest around to family and friends. Help me know for sure that I can make a change in not just our community, but the whole nation. I thank you all for reading, and I hope I’ve given you an idea of just how much potential a kid has.

Sign up here to join the protest.

Adora Wen is currently a freshman at Dublin High School. Her greatest passion is playing golf, having placed in several NCGA tournaments and making it into East Bay’s Second Team All-League. She loves volunteerism and helping the community, especially at soup kitchens and environmental cleanups. In school, she is active in clubs like DECA and FBLA while currently pursuing the topics of Finance and Marketing. In her spare time, Adora loves to listen to musicals and 80’s songs while reading a good book.

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