From Journals kept by youth at Church of the Savior Knoxville
When I first brought out the banner on the first night it kind of hit me that I was with over 3,000 people who shared the same beliefs/ideas as me. Throughout the event, especially when the Peace Poets performed, I got a sense of unity and an idea that there are actually a lot more people than I thought who have the same ideology that I have grown up with all my life. As the Peace Poets performed about justice and politics, I saw so many people clapping and cheering for them because of their views. It was overwhelmingly amazing to see so many people all at once that have the very beliefs that I do. My experience at NYE has opened my eyes that I am not alone in the fight for justice and with the shared values of faith at the same time. I BELIEVE that I can make a difference because of NYE.
I feel that the moment in which we all joined hands while singing “Love, love, love” will stick with me for a while. In the minutes that followed, I felt like I was a part of something beautiful and much bigger than myself. While it scares me to know that there are things that I cannot control, it gives me joy to know that I am not alone. I hope to carry that sense of community with me in everything that I do.
One of the speakers that inspired me was the very first speaker. He talked about preserving the marine life which is a topic I am very passionate about. He inspired me in a way that now I think that I can actually make a difference in this problem. He talked about how he organized trips and fundraisers at my age which then helped marine wild life. He taught me that even the smallest things can save a marine life. Things just as little as picking up a chip bag on the beach, or fishing a coke can out of the water could make such a difference.