Sienna Smith is a fifteen-year-old girl living in North Dakota. Yesterday, STS posted an image of her standing on a snowy road holding a simple sign that read “Honk if you support cops.” As I watched the “likes,” comments, and shares roll in, I couldn’t help but wonder who this young girl is and why she wanted to do something for cops. So, I did what any nosey cop would do, I asked her a bunch of questions that were none of my business just to see what would happen.
A little while ago I received a response to my questions, and I’ll tell you, I’m even more impressed. I found her bright, articulate, and genuine, which are all traits that I’ve come to believe are dying out among our younger generations. Her writing is uninfected by the disease of absurd brevity that accompanies those who grew up in a world where written communication is limited to 140 characters. She is humble, too, thankful that her message has reached so many not because of the number of likes on her picture, but because of the number of officers her message reached. I had every intention of writing this article by picking and choosing portions of what she had to say, but after reading it, I’m just going to post the brief interview in its entirety. Without further ado, a few questions with Sienna:
STS: Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What is your community like?
Sienna: Well, I’m the second oldest daughter in a family of seven. My dad is a commander for the [North Dakota Highway Patrol.] I have a huge interest in politics and current news. If you were to look at my bookshelf in my room, you would think I’m a 40yr old conservative man! I’m not like most teen girls my age. I love getting the chance through my church to help and serve others in my community. My community is like most Midwestern cities, full of kind hearted people who are very hard workers.
STS: What makes you who you are at this point in your life? What interests you? What are your hobbies?
Sienna: I’ve had many life changing experiences in my life, but the reason I am who I am today is my parents for sure. They are those people that you look at and know they’re going to change the world someday. Through their life challenges, they have showed me that doing the right thing, even if it’s not the cool thing, will help not only others but also make you become a happier and stronger person.
My interests are politics, history, volleyball, running, and traveling. I love being active and staying healthy. My family and I travel quite often. Traveling around the world has changed me more than anything. It shows you that there is so much more than just North Dakota. I get the opportunity to see different ways of life and see how sometimes in other countries people don’t have the opportunity to have the same rights as I do. It makes you sit back and realize how good we have it and how much more we can be thankful for.
STS: What inspired you to do what you did? What message do you have for the law enforcement officers out there?
Sienna: Well, I was sitting in my third-hour History class, and I was scrolling through the feed on my Fox News app when I came across a story about these students that had deliberately hit these officers on their bikes. They were chanting, “Hit them again, hit them again,” while teachers sat back and did nothing. So I texted my dad the article, told him how tired I am of no one sticking up for law enforcement, and that I wanted to do something about it. Then, he texted me back our family phrase, “If not you, then who?” I got home after school and told my mom how I felt. She then was like, “Hey, let’s make a sign ‘honk if you support cops’ and go stand on the street.” At first I was so pumped to do it, then I started having second thoughts because this would be in front of peers, teachers, and friends, but then, once again, my mom said, “If not you then who?” That’s what gave me the courage to do it.
The message I have to all law enforcement is not only am I so very thankful for all that they do, but that there are still so many people out there that support the men and women in law enforcement. These officers are out there day and night, risking their lives for us. They sacrifice so much to keep this country safe, and I cannot express enough how thankful I am for their service.
STS: I know you can see things such as likes, shares, and comments on your photograph, but I’m going to give you some numbers. Between the original photo we posted and our cover photo, your photograph has been liked more than 11,000 times, shared 1,400 times, and has received almost 1,200 comments (none of which have been negative.) All that you can likely see, but what only page administrators can see is the photograph has reached more than 200,000 people. How does it make you feel to know your simple gesture has touched so many people?
Sienna: I’m just so happy I got to share my message with so many people. At first my goal was to share my message with the people of South Washington, but now I got the chance to share it with so many hard working officers out there. I hope I was able to help let these officers know how much we truly care about them. 🙂
STS: I grew up in the South. You might have heard a story or two about entire cities shutting down for several days last year when we got less than the amount of snow I see behind you. As you can imagine, it doesn’t really get that cold down here. How cold was it when you were standing out there holding the sign?
Sienna: Well, we were actually going through a warm patch so it was about 15-20 degrees. I was actually just getting over a cold so my nose was quite red. 🙂
*STS Note: 15-20 degrees is a warm patch? Duly noted. I will never set foot in ND in the winter.
STS: How was the reaction? Did you get a lot of honks?
Sienna: I actually didn’t get as many as I thought [I would.] I got about forty honks in a hour and ten minute time frame. I only got one rude comment yelled at me, and I had one guy ask me what I was supporting while he was stopped at a red light. So all in all it was a very cool experience!
STS: Any grief from peers afterward? Do your friends know you’re famous yet?
Sienna: Actually none at all. I posted the same pic on Instagram and got a lot of good comments. They were all super supportive, but I don’t think many of them know that it’s on Facebook. It is all just very cool that I could get the word out there.
STS: Many of the comments have discussed how the commenter knows you were raised right, are a good person, and will go far in life. Some grizzled old cops have even said things like, “You have restored my faith in the younger generation today.” Those are really powerful statements. How do you feel about them?
Sienna: I am so touched by these comments. I’m so happy that I was able to show these people that, yes, there still are teens like me out there who are willing to stand up for what they believe in. Getting a chance like this to show law enforcement how much we care is such a blessing. I hope that through all this, I can inspire just one to do the same as I did. Even through all this hate on social media, Americans still love, care for and support you. “If not you, then who?”