“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

The cycle of protests never stopped. When I was twelve, all the teachers, including my mom, went on a months-long strike. At nineteen, my friend suffered a skull fracture from police brutality during a student protest. At twenty-five, we were protesting corruption once again.

Over the years, my mom grew tired of protesting. I don’t blame her. She was the only one in my family to stay and fight.

My mom’s desire to fight waned, but mine grew stronger. At twelve, I began following the news. At nineteen, I majored in Politics. At twenty-five, I volunteered with a local anti- corruption NGO. At twenty-six, I advised foreign leaders.

My mom fought well. Her protests brought down communism in Bulgaria. If she had attempted to cross the border, she would have been shot. In contrast, I have been fortunate to travel and study overseas. I cannot waste the opportunities I have been given.

Now, it is my turn to fight. I will finish what she started. Call it family inheritance.

— Martin Vasev