Today, we are young.
We are young, but we know where the world is heading. We are young, but we are not ignorant. We know what is happening, we can predict what will happen.
Youth is not our hindrance - it is yours.
We know things are wrong, we know people are in pain, we know friends and strangers suffer, every day. We know that people wake up, wondering if they will live to see another day, we know that some do not sleep at all, haunted by demons of the past, the present, and the unforseeable future.
We see the world as you may not - in fragments and images, painted with words that are both bright and dull, coloured by actions and emotions - luminescent, shadowy. We see it in flashes of dark and light, in bursts of smiles and tears, in rapid streaks of laughter and pain. We see it with different moods and temperaments. We see it as we are, we see it as a reflection of ourselves, of what is in our heart of hearts.
We know enough to acknowledge that we are capable of both great and terrible deeds, but we choose to do what is right. We choose to stand up and scream when we know something is wrong, we choose to raise our voices in unison when we hear of barbaric acts. We choose to protest, we choose to take action. We choose to make a difference.
We will not sit by and wait, we will not be silent. We cannot be suppressed, and we cannot be bought. We will question everything you present to us, we will not be pacified by assurances, fake promises, hollow words. We will fight.
We will fight, because we know it is what we must do. We live in safety today, but we fight for a safe tomorrow - for everyone we know, for the people we will come to know, for the people we admire, for the people we love.
We fight for a world where beliefs will remain untouched, but will remain as what they essentially are - beliefs. Beliefs that cannot be forced onto unwilling parties, cannot be twisted to cause pain to others.
We fight for equality, so that men, women, and children do not have to think, 'Today, I will be what society wants me to be, what it expects of me', because we want them to think, instead, 'Today, I will be who I want to be, and I will not be subject to criticism for it'.
We will fight for a world where there is tolerance and freedom, a world which understands and accepts this fact of life: that people cannot be neatly fitted into boxes, that we cannot stick the same label on everyone and call it a truth. We fight for a world which accepts that people deal with situations differently, that not everyone can climb the same mountain at the same pace, not everyone can overcome the same flood of emotion and get back on track at the same time.
We want a world where people will acknowledge other people as what they are, will acknowledge their rights irrespective of gender, sexuality, or their belief system. We want to give others the benefit of doubt, to offer them the same excuses we sometimes allow ourselves so easily.
We cannot and will not raise arms, but we will raise our voices, and we will be heard.
We are the future, as we are so often told. Do not tell us that we are uneducated, that we have not seen enough of the world, that we are foolish to think that we can change it. Do not tell us we are ignorant.
We are young, and that is one of our greatest strengths. Because we have learned. We have faced enough naysayers, and we have not been dissuaded. We have faced mocking glances and condescending tones, and we have been able to brush it off and move on.
Yesterday, we may not have listened as hard.
Today, we are young. We are dazzling, changeable, determined, bold, alert, and eager. We are learning, and we will learn.
Tomorrow - who knows?
We may just change the world.