By Elis Pill

As an international student, I don’t have the privilege of voting for Hillary on Election Day. That, however, doesn’t mean that I have no interest in the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. On the contrary, I feel that it is even more important for me to get actively involved in breaking the hardest glass ceiling in America because I, along with every other alien, legal or illegal, in this country, will be affected by the outcome. I, a foreign citizen, have deeply personal interests in doing my small part to get Hillary elected.

To begin with, I want the streets to be safe. I, too, am living here, at least for the next four years. A shooter doesn’t ask for your passport to see whether you are an American or not. So far, there has been only one time during my stay at Penn when I seriously wished I had gone to a university in my home country – during the recent shooting threat to Philadelphia area colleges. Gun violence is everyone’s problem and international students shouldn’t hide behind the excuse that they don’t officially have a vote. We do have a voice, a voice that needs to be heard louder. I want to see Hillary elected president so that she can push for tougher gun legislation, so that I don’t have to be afraid of catching a bullet in French class ever again.

Furthermore, Hillary will be the global leader in international security who I trust to deal with today’s volatile world. Because I come from a tiny Baltic nation that shares a border with a giant neighbor that has already devoured a part of another sovereign country and is pushing to get more, America’s involvement in international politics is personal to me. The United States is the only democratic world power which can stand up to Putin’s Russia, and the only presidential contender who has proven herself to be capable of leading that is Hillary. Her invaluable experience as secretary of state and her call for greater military assistance to Ukraine despite America’s more tactile reaction show that she is both skilled and courageous enough to say what needs to be said and, more importantly, do what needs to be done to keep Eastern Europe free from Russia’s domination.

Finally, I want Hillary to become president because of her stances on the issues of humanity. Equal rights for the LGBT community and the Syrian refugee crisis differ in countless ways, but they also share a common core. They represent the idea that everyone deserves to live a safe and independent life regardless of their origin, religion, or sexual orientation. I believe that Hillary will lead the country towards greater compassion and respect for one another and serve as an example for the entire world, especially for the few European Union countries that have shown incredible hostility towards our fellow humans from Syria and the many governments, including my own, that still haven’t legalized gay marriage. “The leader of the free world” is not merely a catchy nickname. The world cares about what America does. The recent successes of the LGBT movement here have encouraged interest groups and activists around the world to further their goals of greater equality. We need Hillary to be the world leader the 21st century so desperately needs.

I might not have an American passport, but I live and go to school in this wonderful country. I, like my American friends, don’t want to be worried about getting shot while achieving my dreams. And even though I might not be living here forever, my life will always be impacted by the choices of American leaders. Thus, I need to contribute however I can to get Hillary elected, because I want my world to become safer, more open, and more tolerant for all humans of Planet Earth.