This article is part of our B+C Community Voices project. All of these stories come from our readers in response to our request for op-eds from different viewpoints. This one comes from Trisha Kondabala, a 17-year-old student from Florida. She has a passion for fashion and politics and hopes to someday pursue a career that combines the two.

I am 17 years old. I am Indian American.

Not even my mother knows the extent of what she left behind in a country that has no regard for those of our gender. She came to this country with only $100 in her pocket to give me, her unborn child, a better chance at a future. A better chance at the elusive American Dream.

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I was eight when Barack Obama was elected; I grew up with him. But I didn’t know what I had until I lost it. Election night, my sister and I sat with eyes glued to the TV, calling out wins and losses. By the morning, I was devastated. She hugged me, and whispered in my ear, “It’s okay Trisha, I’ll fix this. I’ll run for president next time.”

My little sister, who is half my age, is unable to assimilate. She is wild and free and nothing can stop her. My sister breathes fire. I’d like to think that’s what I have passed on to her. I hope she will grow up without fear. She does not yet understand the rights that she doesn’t have. But even she sees inequalities everywhere. This election has only made them so much more apparent. I am scared for our futures. There are so many what ifs. What if her rights are taken away even before she knows she has them? What if she never knows what it was like before all of this? All I can offer her is a simple promise: I promise to do whatever I can to protect you from all of this.

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The day of the inauguration, I sat in a classroom full of immigrants’ children. We were again glued to the TV, using humor to deflect from the fact that we didn’t know what would happen to us in the future. But I could see the determination in their eyes. I could see fire that matched my own.

THIS IS MY COUNTRY, TOO. This is our battle cry. We will fight for the future of our country, no matter what it takes. We will make sure that our generation and the ones that follow will be protected. We will make sure they are able to fulfill their own American Dreams.