'We cannot lose our focus,' says 16-year-old Yara Shahidi

By Nivea Serrao
Updated November 10, 2016 at 11:19 PM EST
ABC/John Fleenor

A number of celebrities have spoken out after Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States on Tuesday. B’ack-ish actress Yara Shahidi joined the pack Thursday, tweeting out photos of a personal essay.

“My process/processing,” Shahidi, 16, said of her open letter.

“Opposition is in our nature and serves as the cornerstone and motivation to some [of] the greatest movements in our history,” writes Shahidi, who plays Zoey Johnson on the ABC sitcom. “But I believe that in order for opposition to be constructive to our society, it must be birthed from a place of love and a desire for justice.”

She continues: “To strive to feel empowered is not a sin; in fact it’s an unalienable right. The sin is to believe that your empowerment must be firmly planted in the oppression of others.”

“But now that President-elect Trump is a reality. And now that millions of Americans feel as though their vocalized hate and aggression are justified, what do we do?” asks Shahidi, before urging fans and readers not to lose hope. “We must ensure that the baton of progress that President Obama ran forth is not dropped. We cannot lose our focus or momentum because of this car, tumultuous change of course. It starts by each and every one of us becoming our personalized version and manifestation of the Hope and Change.”

Shahidi suggests that readers must be “decisive” and support grassroots organizations — especially those that aim to protect the rights of “those who are overlooked.”

“We are not and will not become passive members of our society,” concludes Shahidi. “I refuse to watch the undoing of centuries of progress. We are Generation Z.”