(I’m renaming this series from, “From the Child” to “College Essay.” These are real responses to real essay questions from real children.)
Describe a person, experience, or event that changed your mind. (Limit 500 words)
Prior to this year, I had a strict “no politics” rule. Part of this disdain came from the fact that an elected family court judge had failed my family. After my parents separated in 2010, my maternal grandfather started psychologically and emotionally abusing me and my siblings. When I began opening up about what was happening, the abuse became worse. He made me think that I was at fault for telling people I was not okay. I kept trying to reach out for help: I told my teachers, friends, school counselors, and multiple therapists. I asked for someone to help, but nothing happened. No one helped. CPS was absent until this past year when my step-dad overdosed on opioid painkillers, but by that point, I was done. I came to the conclusion that my story would not affect anything.
Another aspect of politics I hated were the arguments it caused in communities. Since one of my home lives was so toxic, I wanted to avoid additional toxicity at all costs.
My dad did not see politics in the same light. When early voting in the primaries came around, he went to a busy intersection every day to hold a homemade sign asking people to “Please Vote” for the judge’s opponent. He took time off work to do something that I viewed as fruitless. He didn’t care if his voice had an impact, he simply had to take a stand.
Seeing him come home every day from electioneering began to change my mind. He told me stories about people who were unaware of what was happening in the family courts. I offered to help only because I wanted to relieve some of his stress. However, I was not completely convinced that this would amount to anything.
On election day, something clicked. The combination of seeing my dad hold a sign every day, frustration from feeling powerless, and the need to help families still in the system led me to text my dad, “Is there anything else I can do to help?” He replied, “Do you want to hold a sign?”
I knew I would be telling my story that evening to strangers. At first, I was scared, but as the night progressed, it became easier. My favorite part of electioneering was, ironically, the most upsetting part for my dad. As I was talking to people, a supporter for the opposing candidate walked directly in front of me – cutting me off from the people I was talking to. It was disrespectful, but it solidified my reasoning for being there. When that same lady approached a voter I had talked to earlier, the voter told her, “I have my vote.” Knowing I was able to be a voice for children and families was an incredibly rewarding feeling – and that is a massive understatement.
The candidate for whom I electioneered won. On January 1, 2023 she will take the oath of office for the 325th District Court in Tarrant County, Texas.
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