March for Our Lives: A Call to Action From Our Kids & An Important Message About Them, Too by Ann Marie Patitucci

March for Our Lives: A Call to Action From Our Kids & An Important Message About Them, Too

On March 24, 2018, I was honored to march alongside my 11-year-old son, my college students and local high school students in Richmond, Va., as they added their voices to the student-led #NeverAgain movement. The teen survivors of the massacre at MSD High School in Parkland, Fla., organized the D.C. March For Our Lives, and our local kids initiated the Richmond march. With the exception of a few adult speakers (including Senator Tim Kaine and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney), the rally mainly consisted of diverse student speakers, poets and singers, exactly as it should be. 

Our local students urged us to join them in their efforts to effect change to protect kids not only at school but also in neighborhoods in Richmond and across the country where they are also affected by gun violence. They shared their fears and personal stories of loss due to gun violence, and they shared their wishes for the future. They were passionate, articulate, inclusive, on message and inspiring. This may have surprised some people, but I wasn’t at all surprised.

I’ve been working with teens and young adults for 20 years. I have learned to never underestimate our young people. I know some see our kids as apathetic and narcissistic, spending their time obsessing over Snapchat filters and eating Tide Pods. But that’s not what I see. I see young people who ask insightful questions, who challenge the status quo, who care about social justice, who want to make a difference in the world. It doesn’t surprise me that when we adults fail them, they step up and say #Enough.

I’m glad my son was there to witness their activism, democracy in action and living proof that age does not limit one from making a difference. I’m glad I was there to witness this significant moment in history. These kids made me feel more hopeful than I’ve felt in a long time. Don’t underestimate them; they’re not going anywhere. They’re our future voters, teachers, politicians, leaders. #ImWithTheKids. Won’t you join me in supporting them? 

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Elisa Schmitz
This. Is. Awesome. I absolutely love that you were there with your son and your students. You are so right about this generation. They give me hope that this ends NOW. Thank you for sharing your experience and your insights with us, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead . I so appreciate you! xoxo
Ann Marie Patitucci
Thanks, Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds . I’m with Gen Z all the way! I think our future is very bright!
This was perfect Ann Marie. Thank you for sharing your experience and your words. ❤️
AJ Rogers
What a great experience for the two of you to do together! Way to GO Mama!!
Nicole DeAvilla
Thanks for sharing Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead - I had this gut feeling that kids from MSD High School in Parkland, were the ones who would have the passion, the smarts and the determination to finally make a difference. Let's support them all we can. They are our future - a future that will be brighter because of them.
Ann Marie Patitucci
I couldn't agree more, Nicole DeAvilla ! The future is bright!
Gina Pomering
Great Job Ann Marie and T! So glad you were able to participate! We need to give the young men and woman credit and compassion. So proud that they want to make a difference and they are!
Ann Marie Patitucci
I agree, Gina Pomering ! These kids are so impressive! I love their passion and dedication!

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