Alex and Jess Laird are founding members of Raising Our Future.
Our family fought hard in the 2016 election. We made phone calls, attended rallies, registered voters, learned about the issues and worked to educate others. This election felt historic, and we were eager to be a part of it. We were thrilled at the thought of our young son growing up with a female president.
Jess spent Election Day as a poll place worker, and was moved to tears watching mothers bring their daughters with them to vote, dressed head to toe in the iconic white of the Suffragette Movement. She hugged immigrants who were proudly voting for the first time. Alex waited at home with champagne, ready to watch history unfold.
As we all know, that night did not go as planned. Like in so many homes across the country, our champagne sat unopened in the refrigerator, celebrating was replaced with tears and disbelief, and a weight settled on our shoulders as we faced a sleepless night. Those early hours and days following the election felt hopeless. The world felt darker, heavier.
Because we live in a very liberal and diverse area (San Francisco), it felt like everyone around us was mourning and afraid. As a graduate student studying social work and public administration, Jess wondered what place there would be for her in fields so effected by the whims of the president. Alex looked around at his work team of minorities, immigrants, and LGBTQ folks, worried for their future and well-being. Together, we worried about our special needs son and his classmates, who are dependent on federal funding in healthcare and education for the services they need to thrive and survive.
It became clear that allowing our fear, sadness, and anger to paralyze us would not fix anything. It was again time to take action. Making difference is almost always a team effort, and Raising Our Future is a beautiful embodiment of what ordinary people can accomplish when they rally together and refuse to stay silent. We are parents who care about creating a more just, equitable, and opportunity-centric world for our children, and we will not stop fighting for those goals.