[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/26/williams.ted.kennedy/art.erica.williams.cap.jpg caption="Erica Williams says Ted Kennedy consistently exemplified the hope for an open, just and inclusive America."]
Special to CNN
Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy may have been 77 years old, but he embodied the spirit, determination and core values of my generation - the millenials - in a way that no other senator has in our lifetime. How ironic that the passing of one of the oldest and longest serving senators has left me, a 25-year-old woman, frantically searching for a fierce, dedicated ally for causes that concern young Americans.
As a young person with equal parts hope in - and criticism of - America's body politic, I value the length of time Kennedy spent championing the causes of those constituencies that are traditionally underrepresented in the political process and also the tenacity, savvy and consistency with which he did it.
Filed under: Sen. Ted Kennedy
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