The Ripple Effect


Your whole life, you hear about becoming 18 years old - about the freedom you’ll gain and about the power you’ll finally have. So walking into my first election, I was excited to finally feel like I had a say. I was excited to vote for a better future.

But on election night, seeing the results come in, I did not feel free or powerful. I felt sad. I felt confused. I felt afraid.

I worried for people of color, and how our president’s hateful speech would affect them.

I worried for women, and how their reproductive rights may be threatened.

I worried for the LGBTQ+ community, and how this discrimination would impact their lives.

And like many others, I just felt helpless. I felt like there was nothing to do. Hate was taking over our country, and I felt lost. I didn’t know how to combat something so utterly disgusting.

But, as time went by, I saw hope emanating from the people surrounding me. My college professors offered safe spaces. My community started protests. My government officials promised that they were going to do something.

Mother Teresa once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone to create many ripples.” My professors, my community, and my government officials all showed me the little things that I could do to make a difference. I didn’t have to take on the whole problem at once. I could start small and do my best to promote positivity and change.

So, as a graphic design student, I did what I know best. I started making illustrations and graphics to fight back against the hate that was happening around the country. It started with class projects, focused on empowering women, and combating climate change. It continued with stickers, created specifically to promote reproductive rights. I made designs with slogans such as: not your uterus not your choice, I stand with women, and girls just want to have fundamental human rights. As a woman myself, these issues were extremely important to me, and I found it was my duty to do something for this particular community.

But that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to do more. I wanted my ripple to be bigger. So, I recently joined the St. Croix County Democrat’s youth engagement committee. I am now working to create logos and graphics that influence the younger generation to become involved in politics. I’m working to inspire others to feel hopeful, rather than sad, confused, and afraid.

I’m working to show others that it’s time to #DoSomething.

Celia Duffee