I still remember how it felt to be at the first Stand for Children rally on June 1, 1996.
I covered the event as a teenage reporter, so my job was to interview other young people and adults who had traveled all across the country to gather in Washington D.C. that beautiful summer day.
There's one particular story I keep in my head: There was an older woman with her own folding chair who opened it up under a tree on the side of the National Mall and sat down. After she got situated, I went over and asked her why she was there. She was with her young granddaughter, and she said that she had traveled all the way from the Midwest to be a voice for her grandchildren.
As I navigated through the crowd speaking to others who attended that day, I never imagined that 25 years later, I'd still have the privilege of telling the stories of Stand families and children who are fighting for a better life and education.
To be at Stand now and continuing to find spaces to amplify the voices — not only of young people, but of our communities, of people who at one point or another have been told their voices don't matter — is a great honor, especially as someone who sees her own story reflected in the families we serve.
Whether you have been with Stand since day one or since a few days ago, I want to say thank you. Your enduring support, determination and generosity are making a difference for families and children.