It is August, 1986, and for the first time in a long time, I feel that there is hope for Chile. In retrospect, I have been pushing the idea of hope out of my conscious awareness, learned not to question it’s existence because I was afraid of the conclusion I would arrive at. If I allowed myself to lose all hope, how could I continue living? How could I be strong for my family when they need me most? And yet, over the course of the past year my thinking has changed. It’s hard to be certain of your own vision or clarity of mind through the fog of fear that seems to have permeated all levels of Chilean consciousness. I have been afraid to let myself have hope. But over the course of the past year, the popular protests, and the tremendous courage of individuals around me in the face of the seemingly insurmountable has garnered a sense of hope in my own soul. In my mind’s eye, I have seen a light far off in the distance that at first was practically inscrutable grow brighter with time. I do not know what the future will hold, but there is a sense of energy in the air, like right when it’s about to rain; something is about to change in Chile, and it is my responsibility to contribute as best I can to make this tremendous possibility a reality. That’s why I have been participating in a grassroots organization called the Democratic Alliance. Political parties and the system in general has continuously failed the majority of us Chileans in the past, now the people have taken politics into their own hands. It was about time. The political division and gridlock that cost Chile our democratically elected leader: Allende, and the opportunity for much needed reform is now a problem of the past. The Democratic alliance is a center left alliance with the superordinate goal of ousting Pinochet through the very democratic institutions he created: in essence we hope to vote him out of office. And let me tell you, there is nothing more exciting than participating in public protest. It brought me so much joy to be in a crowd, all of us striving to overcome our individual fear for the sake of the common good, for the sake of our future, each of us deriving strength from the courageous spirit of those around us. The crowd swelled, gathered more momentum and spirit, our collective voice reverberating off of the very streets that we were petrified to walk on just a few years ago. I hadn’t felt my heart soar like that in a long time.