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Hopeful for the Future of America: Sophia Peters, Maryland

As told by Sophia Peters
Salisbury, Maryland

Story Narrative:

Sophia stands against the wall and puts her hand on her head. She wears a bright, orange sweater.

This snapshot was gathered in conjunction with the Maryland Voices initiative at Maryland Humanities, specifically to supplement the "Voices and Votes: Democracy in America" traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street program. This collection, made up of stories of first-time voters between the ages of 18 and 24, showcases the experiences of young people as they wrestled with the 2020 presidential election, issues around social justice, the environment, immigration, and the pandemic.

Sophia Peters (00:00): My name is Sophia Peters. I am from Salisbury, Maryland, and I attend Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.

Sophia Peters (00:08): I am hopeful. I think that in a few years we will be back on track. I hope that we will see much more unity come to [inaudible 00:00:18] and I think that once we get to a place where we can actually unify it, we will have a clear plan and path for the future, and that in and of itself gives me hope. The idea that we can have congressmen who look at each other from across the aisle and are willing to [inaudible 00:00:36] better, and we have neighbors who can look at each other from across the street with different political signs in their yards and come together and be one again. When that happens, I will be much more hopeful than I am right in this moment, but I have hopes that one day we will get there.

Sophia Peters (00:50): As the country becomes more partisan and more politically divided, we have this concern that will we ever have these two halves make a whole again. I think that it is very interesting to see how both parties are using this, the current pandemic, to influence one another, to influence constituents, and I feel like there is a great fear about whether or not we'll be united again.

Sophia Peters (01:19): In times of crisis, we typically expect to see those two halves become a whole. We saw that with the awful events that happened on 9/11 and we saw that happen in the recession, and so I feel like there was an expectation that we would be able to unite as Americans, and yet it feels like we have just [inaudible 00:01:37] divided. I think that there are a lot of Americans who are [inaudible 00:01:43] and watching their actions right now to see what is going to happen.

Sophia Peters (01:49): That being said, I think Americans are also very concerned with unemployment, with being able to afford their rent right now. That's why we have a freeze on rent. I think that there are issues [inaudible 00:02:02] contextualize when you're looking at them from the federal level, but when you're talking to people individually, easier to see how people are struggling.

Asset ID: 2021.03.16.d
Themes: Hope, optimism, 9/11, unity, understanding, compromise, neighbors, politics, partisan, polarization, division, political parties, recession, housing
Date recorded: February 4, 2021
Length of recording: 02:11 m
Related traveling exhibition: Voices and Votes: Democracy in America
Sponsor or affiliated organization: Edward H. Nabb Research Center, Salisbury University, in partnership with Maryland Humanities
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