The letter below was sent from Canton Central School’s Head Boys Ice Hockey Coach Anthony Levato to his team the morning following the historic events which took place in Our Nation’s Capital on January 6, 2021.
A Response to Yesterday’s Events
I want to reach out, not to illustrate any political narratives but simply in a hope to help some of you navigate what you have had to watch on the news not just today but over the past weeks and months. It has been disturbing and almost unfathomable to see the United States Capital be breached. It has been tough to see the division over political alignment and race.
As bystanders it is confusing and worrying to say the least. In all times it is important to remember what we can control and what we can not control. When we consider what is in our control we can begin to reduce anxiety and confusion. A few things that I know we can all control as younger people in this country are as follows:
We are all Americans. No matter creed, color, race or political alignment we are all living here together. It becomes our responsibility as Brothers and Sisters of this nation to carry ourselves with empathy and care for one another. One can do this each and every day. It is a decision that we can and should make day in and day out.
We must seek the truth no matter how inconvenient it may personally be. Our media is biased. Almost any news source you choose to interact with there will always be a level of bias and non facts. On top of this we are spoon fed various opinions and theories on social media platforms. No matter the source, we can control whether or not we are thinking critically about what we read and see. Ask questions and re-read things in order to get a better understanding. It is easy to hit the share button (that’s the lazy way). It is more difficult but imperative that we first do everything in our power to get the facts.
We must not be afraid of communication. If Americans had more real face to face conversations about current events and issues there is little doubt that we would be a more united people. Try and understand where others are coming from even if there are disagreements. Keep in mind your other similarities. Without real intellectual conversation we are left to no other choice but to stand divided.
Be willing to make a difference as a member of your community. I always ask people who rant to me about politics or current events “what are you doing to help your community be better though?” This stumps many peers and people who are my elder. They usually can not give a direct answer. I urge you to never turn down an opportunity to volunteer or help others along. Aside from the personal satisfaction that comes along with this service the fact of the matter is that if we all did more — or at least something — we would be living in a much better and united place.
We can prepare ourselves to vote. I can not stress this duty enough. It is perhaps the greatest privilege that we have as Americans. So many have fought and sacrificed life to defend our democracy and the right to vote for whomever we individually choose. At age 16 you can pre register to vote online through the DMV, by getting a form at your local post office or by contacting your Board of Elections. At age 18 you will be able to make your voice heard at the polls. If you think your vote doesn’t matter you are wrong (especially in local races.) As we have seen, the American people have the ultimate say in who our leaders and representatives are. Do your research and vote when you are able.
Remember today and never forget these times. YOU are the future of this country. From my experience I truly believe our country’s future is in good hands. We can and will live in a better United States but it is on us each day to be better than those who have come before us. It is time for us to come together to get through these divisive times and get through the pandemic. There is so much hurt out there but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
I understand some of these things may be difficult to put into action. As always I do not ask you to take the easy route. If you don’t like what you see I hope this serves as a fundamental blueprint for you.
Have open conversations with your family members, peers and teachers. Ask questions to help your own understanding. Remember how privileged we truly are. We have so much going for us even in difficult times when the chips seem stacked against us. Real Americans are tough and resilient. That is what I urge you to be.