Teenage Girls Are Making Big Plans to Change the World in the #Next4Years

Leeann Duggan
Senior Editor
Yahoo Style

“I’m going to start volunteering to help people in need.”

“I’m going to fight to make sure women’s voices and needs are not silenced.”

“I will run for political office.”

These are the voices of teenage girls and young women making a video pledge about how they plan to change the world in the next four years. The #Next4Years campaign was started by Liza Darwin and Casey Lewis, co-founders of Clover Letter, a daily newsletter for young women. The project was created to answer, in Darwin’s words, the sense of “uncertainty and disappointment” readers felt in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.

The project started late last week with a call from Clover for readers to post their video pledges using the hashtag #Next4Years, and it’s already taking off on social media, with more than 1,600 posts to Instagram and an ever-growing number on Twitter. We spoke to Clover Letter founder Liza Darwin about how the project came about and how it’s inspiring young women (and us grown-ups too) to do the hard work of building a better world.

How did the project come about?

“It’s crazy, because the project came about in less than 24 hours. Our readers were talking to us — and to each other! — about the election results and sort of asking ‘what now?’ There was such a sense of uncertainty and disappointment, and we wanted to give these girls an outlet to express their views.”

It’s amazing to see young women responding to uncertainty with action.

“It’s hard to predict what will happen in the Trump presidency these next four years — so rather than wondering how we can possibly survive it, we decided to focus on making the world a better place during that time. As a whole, our readers are using this outcome as a stepping stone to empowerment. They’re more fired up than ever, which is awesome.”

Photo: Courtesy Instagram/@girlgiftgather
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@girlgiftgather

Even as an adult, I find this really inspiring. Do you think this is helping you process your own feelings surrounding the election or inspiring you to act?

“Yeah! Right now it can be incredibly hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but just by making a pledge — a personal one — you can feel like you’re taking a step in the right direction.”

Did anything surprise you about the response?

“One thing that surprised us was that readers from all over the world, not just the U.S., wanted to get involved. There were also tons of girls who submitted entries that are still too young to vote. These girls are super inspirational because, yeah, they’re disappointed, but they’re also taking back the narrative and refusing to let Trump’s next four years impact their own plans to help people.”

Progressive young women may not have gotten the president they want, but they’re empowering themselves and others with grassroots action and starting the hard work of building the world they want to live in. As one young woman says in the video, “I’m going to keep fear and hate out of my heart and keep fighting for what’s good” — an inspiring pledge in uncertain times.