I'm With the Kids: Why We Should Support the Teen Activists From Parkland, Florida by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
The young survivors of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., continue to dominate mainstream news coverage and have captured our collective attention. Vowing that the shooting at their school would be the last, these young people have become the face – the passionate, angry, determined and very public face – of the #NeverAgain movement, a national movement that seems to be gaining momentum each day.
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s the children who are rising up as leaders, fighting for gun control, for it’s THEIR lives that depend on it. And shouldn’t we support them, encourage them, celebrate them, even? We’re quick to criticize this generation for being fragile and self-absorbed. We complain that they’re addicted to social media and video games, while they lack social skills and communication skills. Well, they’re communicating now. They’re expressing their feelings and standing up for what they believe in. Isn’t that we want from our young people?
Their commitment to their cause has resulted in rallies; op-eds; viral speeches; and most notably, a protest in Washington, D.C., March For Our Lives, scheduled for March 24. The protest has already raised millions of dollars in donations and has inspired satellite protests in communities across the U.S. and the globe.
The March For Our Lives website reflects its organizers’ feelings, their beliefs and their mission: “School safety is not a political issue … The mission and focus of March For Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues … Every kid in this country now goes to school wondering if this day might be their last. We live in fear. It doesn’t have to be this way. Change is coming. And it starts now, inspired by and led by the kids who are our hope for the future. Their young voices will be heard.”
President John F. Kennedy once said, “The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.” I feel very hopeful about our prospects.
I don’t know about you, but #ImWithTheKids.
Photos: March For Our Lives