I’ve really been avoiding writing anything political on this blog. I have lots of thoughts and lots of passions about all things social justice, but I have been afraid of making this space “unsafe” for those who disagree or appearing ignorant if I get a fact wrong. But those Parkland kids, wow, they are changing the (and my!) world. They are using their voices without fear. They are apologizing if they are wrong, but they are standing up for their beliefs wholeheartedly. And I am amazed and inspired. I want to follow in their footsteps.
That being said, if you don’t like politics or differing opinions, please feel free to go ahead and exit this post. I’m not here to step on toes or be disrespectful to those who believe differently than me, so I will not tolerate those who are here to argue and will promptly delete any comments that are hostile, disrespectful, or name-calling in nature. Thank you!! 🙂
This past Saturday, I marched here in Nashville at a sister march of the March For Our Lives, a march to end school shootings organized by the brave students of Majory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, FL, where 17 people were killed and 17 others injured in a school shooting on Valentine’s Day of this year. An estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people, ranging from newborns (literally saw a baby wearing the beanie they give babies in the hospital–she was TINY and obviously just a month old at most) to the elderly (people were there in wheelchairs/walkers), marched in Nashville, while over 200,000 marched in DC. In the United States alone, an estimated 1.2 million people marched at one of the 800 other sister marches. This generation, the generation of high schoolers who are not even old enough to vote yet, are NOT backing down. And the world is listening and joining in.
Saturday was one of the most moving things that I have ever experienced. Being surrounded by thousands of people (many of whom where children and teens) who believed in the same things I do lit a fire under me and reminded me of why I fight. I was encouraged, challenged, and empowered. I listened and I watched and I learned. I was reminded that we are literally fighting for life. This movement IS a pro-life movement. I’m not sure why it’s even a question (are we going to value our right to a gun over a child’s right to live?), but I know that we are answering with LIFE. The answer is life. We deserve life.
The march has obviously met backlash due to its political nature, but one argument that I will not let slip by is that “these kids don’t even know what they are marching for.” Let me tell you, I was at the march on Saturday, and WE KNEW WHAT WE WERE MARCHING FOR. The high schoolers I saw at the march in Nashville knew, and the Parkland students leading the march up in DC knew. Just look at the How We Save Lives page on the March For Our Lives website. THESE STUDENTS ARE NOT IGNORANT. These teens know history, they know policy, they know what makes a gun automatic, they know where we need extra funding. As high school students dealing with homework and AP exams, they are also devoting so much of their time to researching and learning about gun control. They are not blindly demanding guns to be taken away. They are not being brainwashed by a liberal agenda. They are informed and they have done their research and they will not stop until the politicians listen to them.
I have become more politically involved in the past month since the shooting than I have been in my entire life. College has made me a liberal (sorry dad) and I have become so much more passionate about social justice issues since starting my freshman year, but this month has driven me even deeper into that passion and has urged me to do even more research about the things I don’t know much about. It has taught me how to listen and how to move in action. The Parkland shooting changed me for the better, and I never want to lose that.
In class yesterday, my professor said that students today are “not even marching against people dying, they are marching against the NRA who has done nothing wrong.” In the words of Emma Gonzalez, I call BS on that. To water down this movement to simply attacking the NRA completely disregards the lives of the 3,308 people that have died from gun violence in 2018 alone (Gun Violence Archive). There have been 50 mass shootings in the past three months. And still the NRA refuses any and all gun control. We want automatic weapons banned, we want bump stocks banned, we want the minimum age to be able to purchase a firearm to be raised to 21, we want gun records digitized. We want sensible gun control. We are opposing the NRA because the NRA is valuing their right to own a gun over our right to live. They believe that gun control will make them “less free,” while children are losing all of their freedom and dying because of senseless gun violence. We want the NRA to value the lives of children in schools over their weekend hobbies. We didn’t march against the NRA. We marched for gun control. But the NRA is standing between us and our goal because they are able to buy off the politicians in office. So we marched so that people will hear us. We marched so that we will make a difference. We marched so that we can vote them out.
I could go on and on and on about why I believe that there needs to be gun control, but that isn’t the point of this. I don’t want to throw out a slew of facts and debate with people, not on this platform at least. I just want to show that these students–the Parkland students and the students that are rallying around them all over the world–know what they are talking about. They’re high schoolers, many of them not even old enough to vote, and they know more about policy than most adults know. They have taken more action than most adults have. They are doing the things that most adults won’t.
Don’t discredit them. They may be young, but they are mighty. And they are going to outlive those that are opposing them. They are going to vote, they are going to run for office, they are going to change this country. They are not the product of a liberal agenda. They are a product of witnessing all the generations before us and saying, “hey, we don’t want to live in a world like that.” They don’t want to live in a world that is run by skin color, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, immigrant status, or social hierarchy. They’re calling BS on all of that. I’m calling BS on it too. They are a product of their own minds and their own passion. This is their doing. Without prompting, and I’m sure sometimes without full support. But they’re still doing it anyway because it is what they believe in.
They are changing the world, and I am so here for it. We need the March For Our Lives movement. We need these teens. We need them because they carry the hope for this country. Our future is in good hands if they are going to be the ones running this place. I 100% believe that, and I will continue backing them up, supporting them, and fighting alongside them. This fight is important. They are important.
Right now I’m loving this article called These Magic Kids. I wanna leave y’all with a quote from it, but be sure to go read the entire thing. It is beautiful and breathtaking and captures these students so so well.
“The truth is these kids didn’t spontaneously erupt from Florida a month ago. They have been deconstructing the bullshit of our generations for their entire lives, and now they’re ready.”