By Aniya Witherspoon
There are so many things I am passionate about that I could probably spend the entirety of this article discussing, so I focused on what I absolutely love discussing: social change.
I am passionate about issues that face my generation. I love writing about these issues because when I write I feel resilient and powerful. Some of the issues I’m passionate about are: teen depression and suicide, Black Lives Matter, police brutality, child abuse and neglect, among others.
I love to inform people about social change so that they can reflect and make a difference. After seeing so many issues on the news, it ignited a fire in me to help. There have been many times where I’ve informed people about the social issues around them.
For example, through my writing I tell my classmates and teachers at school, about things that are happening that they can relate to. I do this because it’s easy to hear something that doesn’t connect to you and look past it.
My class is filled with 13- and 14-year-olds. When we hear about something that happened in Ohio to a 47-year-old, that doesn’t really move them like something that happened to a 13-year-old living in Virginia. Being able to connect with someone is essential to inspire an interest in social change.
Teens will tend to go and tell other teens, continuing the cycle of distributing information. Signing petitions is the easiest way to inform the powers that be that change is wanted. All you have to do is type your name and you’ve made such a big difference.
I want to motivate people to help with different movements, whether it’s signing petitions or just writing about it in school. There are so many people around me who are dealing with their own challenges, who are being overlooked, and we should try any way to help them if possible.
One social issue in Alexandria is the lack of support for small businesses during this pandemic. Alexandria is full of entrepreneurs with extraordinary ideas and when they put those ideas to work, we overlook them. Some ways we can change that are by supporting local businesses, including Black-owned businesses such as Threadleaf, Cameron Cafe, Haute Dogs & Fries, Hazel O. Salon and many more.
Now that you know a handful of businesses, go support them. If you can’t support right now, tell a friend. We are too blessed to live in such a wonderful place with such amazing businesses to let it all go to waste. Show the beautiful city of Alexandria some love and support our local businesses.
I know during COVID-19 money isn’t always available, so keep a look out for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday deals. Let’s stop this social issue, support our show-stopping small businesses and have fun at the same time.
The writer is an eighth grader at Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School.