What’s Okay For You Might Not Be Okay For Me || sexual assault

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I’m here for the people who unwillingly consented to sexual acts because they were in a situation where it was “normal” or where they felt like they didn’t have the right to say no and now they feel violated but don’t feel like they can say so because what happened “wasn’t a big deal.”

I’m here for anyone and everyone who has felt taken advantage of in a sexual manner but isn’t taken seriously because we live in a hook-up culture where apparently those sort of interactions should at least be expected when on a date.

Some people have certain experiences and are totally okay with what happened. That’s great for them and they can do with their bodies what they want.

BUT some people have those exact same experiences and it traumatizes them. They feel violated and taken advantage of.

And that experience is just as valid as the first.

We all react to things differently and experience things differently because we are all different people with unique emotions and histories and boundaries.

What might be okay for you might not be okay for me.

What matters is how a situation affects the person that experienced it, not how the same situation affects someone else.

No one can change your narrative for you.

If you experience something and you feel violated, you’re allowed to feel that way even if someone else feels differently.

Your truth is your truth. No one can take that.

Not even the person who violated you. They may not have had bad intentions, but you were affected negatively by what they did. What you experienced is your truth, even if it wasn’t the other person’s intent.

You were affected, and that fact alone is enough.

Experiences are relative which can make lines blurry and confusing and messy, but your view of your experience isn’t wrong because it is YOUR experience, not the violator’s or your friends’ or anyone else’s experience.

No one can tell you how to feel.

No one can tell you that your body wasn’t taken advantage of.

No one can tell you that you aren’t allowed to feel assaulted.

No matter if you said no,

if you stayed silent,

if you said yes because you were afraid,

if you fought,

if you didn’t move,

if you pretended to be okay with it because all you know of men is anger and you’ll do what you have to do to avoid that.

It doesn’t matter how you reacted to the assault because you shouldn’t have to ask someone to not assault you.

It’s not no means no.

It’s yes means yes.

Just because you didn’t say “no” or “stop” or “I don’t want to” doesn’t put you at fault.

The other person should know to get affirmative consent before even touching you.

Our culture has normalized hook-ups to the point that it’s just assumed that if you’re on a date then you want to. And I’m sorry, but I’m so not here for that.

I’ve had people tell me that I need to be up front with my date and tell them at the beginning that I don’t want to do anything sexual.

Great idea,

except I shouldn’t have to actively put in effort in order to not get assaulted.

I should be able to assume and feel safe in the fact that nothing sexual will happen unless we’ve agreed upon it first, not assume that hooking up is a “go for it” unless someone vocalizes ahead of time that they don’t want to.

Let’s teach people to ask for affirmative consent instead of teaching people to share preventative PSAs before the date has even begun.

Because a meaningless hook-up for one person could be assault for another.

I get it, it’s culture. But since when do we buy into culture that we don’t like instead of trying to change it?

Because I need it changed for me.

I went on a date this summer. I didn’t tell him ahead of time that I didn’t want to hook up, because why should I have to actively work to not be assaulted? I didn’t say no when he pushed me on the ground, because how was I supposed to know how he’d react at being turned down after he was already on top of me? I tried to act normal after everything happened, because how the heck was I supposed to inform him that he just violated me (as if he shouldn’t have already known)?

I didn’t do any of the things you’re “supposed” to do, because I found myself in a fast-moving situation that I did not want to be in and was so scared I couldn’t use my voice.

I didn’t do what I was “supposed” to do, and I was still assaulted.

It was a first date, and no consent was asked for or given. I really cannot comprehend how it would have been remotely assumed that I wanted to hook up with him, because let me assure you, I was not vibing with him at all and I definitely was making that clear.

I have friends who have had the exact same experiences on dates and they feel the way I do, but they’ve been shamed into silence about it in the same way that I have [until now] because “hook-ups are normal.”

I’ve also had other friends have the exact same experiences on dates as we did and yet they loved it, because both parties went into the date wanting to hook up.

Their narrative isn’t my narrative.

And that’s okay, and all of our experiences are still truth.

So basically, I’m really, really not here for people telling me that my perception of my experience is wrong. No one can sit here and tell me that what happened was okay if I didn’t (and still don’t) feel okay about it.

It might have been okay for you.

But it wasn’t for me.

And you can’t tell me (or anyone else) how to react to their experiences.

If they felt violated, they were violated. End of story. No matter the intent or the circumstances. If someone feels like they don’t have control of their body or what is happening to them, that is enough to be considered assault.

“Other people do not get to tell me what my experience means, or where they would like to place me in their pantheons of suffering. There is great danger in letting those around you determine what your experience means to you, and I have found that one of the best ways to combat that is to keep my story for myself.”

–Zoë Medeiros, “Why I Stopped” from Not That Bad


Edit on 08/09/2018 at 12:27am: This blog post was originally titled “Normalizing Hook-Up Culture = Normalizing Sexual Assault,” but has now been changed after realizing the negative connotation that that title carried in regards to consensual hooking up and casual sex. While within my post it is easy to see my point, the title does not leave much context and can be assumed that I’m saying people should not hook up because it is the same as assault. This is definitely not the case, and my point was that the culture of hooking up really enforces the idea that hooking up should be EXPECTED on a date, instead of discussed about. By all means, do what you want with your body and hook up on dates if you want to, I make that clear in my post. I’m just saying that the normalization of the expectation of hooking up without asking first is what can lead to assault because then what happened is “acceptable” so that means that the assault “wasn’t assault,” no matter what the survivor thinks.

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Who’s Sitting at the Table with Jesus?

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Last week while I was in Ohio, I went to church on Sunday morning with my family that I was visiting. The pastor was preaching out of John 13 on serving others with humility, but he said something that struck me in a different way than the point he was trying to make. He said,

“Who’s sitting at the table with Jesus?”

I’m pretty positive that he was asking who was literally sitting at the table with Jesus in the story he was preaching on, but I took it a different route. I started thinking about the present day Church and the people that we deem “worthy” of hanging out with and reaching out to. Our standards are so so different than Jesus’ were. In my notes I was taking during service, I wrote down, “I know this isn’t the point the pastor was trying to make, but who is Jesus inviting to the table? Are we inviting those people too?”

Right now I’m reading Mark 2 and I am just CRYING at the beauty and love and empathy of our Jesus!! In this passage, Jesus is literally sitting down and eating a meal with Levi the tax collector and the other outcasts who had been following him that day (other tax collectors and probably lepers and prostitutes and children and the lame and the list could go on!). Some Pharisees (the men who were literally LEADING THE CHURCH) mocked Jesus and asked his disciples why he would choose to eat with such men. Jesus overheard and responded with, “people who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts. (Mark 2:17)

Jesus had NO SHAME for hanging out with the people that most others would avoid even eye contact with. He loved them and he cared for them. Aside from his twelve disciples, it seemed like the outcasts were his go-to people to hang out with. 

So who were the people that Jesus hung out with?

Tax collectors.

Prostitutes.

Adulterers.

“Unclean” women.

The demon possessed.

Lepers.

The sick, blind, and lame.

Children.

And the list could go on and on and on.

And ya know? I really don’t think Jesus entered into these relationships with a goal of changing them. Of course he normally did, because that’s just who our Jesus is: a savior and a healer, and it is almost impossible to meet him face to face and not walk away changed. BUT I think his purpose of knowing these people was to simply love them. To show them that they’re worthy. That they have a place in this world, and in the Kingdom.

And I just really can’t help but wonder… why the heck don’t we do that now?

My uncle and I talked about this the other night after we watched The Greatest Showman (he’s a retired pastor and called the movie the “second best Gospel movie of all-time,” so of course we had to talk through all the similarities and metaphors afterwards). In the movie, P.T. Barnum reaches out and finds the outcasts to join him as he creates the world’s first circus. Of course, at first his mission was to find the weirdest of the weird so that they can basically be made fun of, but his mission changes and it all becomes so much more. These so-called “outcasts” find a family and unconditional love and their place in the world. They’re seen as worthy people for the first time. Barnum was the Jesus figure to these people–he gave them a home and showed them that they belonged.

I don’t know how it’s 2018 and we’re still so bad at this.

The Church isolates basically any group of people that isn’t middle-class, successful, and without too many bumps in the road. If you don’t fit the ideal of what a Christian “should” look like, you’re mostly likely shunned and unwelcome.

Friends, if we really want people to know the Lord, this isn’t how we make that happen!

If Jesus were physically here today, who do you think he would be hanging out with?

Us? The people who are isolating HIS people?

No. He’d be hanging out with

LGBTQ+ people,

immigrants and refugees (and yes, EVEN those who try to enter the country illegally!),

drug addicts,

people of color,

people of other religions,

the mentally ill,

sex industry workers,

alcoholics,

the poor and homeless,

kids in foster care,

and all the other “forgotten” (aka ignored) members of society.

And how often as a Church are we hanging out with these people and inviting them to our table?

Rarely.

This is where we’re doing something wrong. This is where we’re messing up.

If we really wanna follow Jesus, we gotta LIVE like Jesus. And that includes opening up our table.

In all honesty, if Jesus were here right now and he was having a big dinner party, I don’t think we’d be at the top of the invite list. He’d invite all of those people that I just mentioned before he even looked at the Church because we are not living and loving as we should be.

I don’t know how we’ve gotten this so messed up. The second greatest commandment is to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. And instead we’ve somehow twisted that to “love your neighbor if they are like yourself.”

We aren’t called to change people. We are called to love people.

So let’s go get a bunch of those foldable tables and put them all together. Invite our LGBTQ+ classmates and Muslim neighbors and the homeless man on the street corner that we see every morning. Invite the moms who are working as strippers just to be able to put food on the table for their kids, the dads who are in and out of rehab for alcohol and drug abuse, the families who are fleeing persecution in other countries to only meet persecution and imprisonment once they reach American soil. Let’s open up the table and invite all the people the Church has been avoiding. 

Let’s love them,

let’s hear their stories.

Not to change them, not to convert them.

But simply to show them that they have a place here, and that that place is with us.

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

“And you cannot imagine all the places you’ll see Jesus
But you’ll find Him everywhere you thought He wasn’t supposed to go
So, go!.. Go!..
And hold all the mothers, whose babies bleed from bullet holes
And feel all the hunger, the bellies and the bones
Shout for the prisoner, cry for justice, loud and long
And march with the victims, as Jesus marches on
And sit at all the tables, ’cause Jesus eats with everyone
And dance to the music, if you can’t sing its native tongue
And cry for the wombs, the mothers and the empty arms
And hold high the warriors, fighting now for freedoms’ song”

— Dear Me by Nichole Nordeman

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An Affirming Christian: Why I Support Pride

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Okay, I know that within the faith world and even my own community, this post is going to be controversial. If you disagree with me, I love you. If you agree with me, I love you. Literally no difference in love for you whether you stand with me or not. I’m so 1000% okay with the hard conversations over this topic–I had to have those conversations in order come to this stance. What I’m not okay with are arguments, name-calling, and belittling/dismissing entire groups of people simply because you do not agree with the way they live. So. If you want to talk with me personally and challenge some of my thoughts or just want to chat more, please feel free through my contact page. If you’re hostile, I won’t talk to you. I’m here for civil, God-honoring conversations. That’s it. The comment section of this post is not a place for debates, so I will be monitoring any comments that come through and deleting ones that I do not feel are appropriate. If this post is going to anger you, please feel free to go ahead and exit out now. I’m not here to change anyone’s mind. I’m here to share the research I’ve done, the conversations I’ve had with scholarly people who love the Lord, and my own personal convictions from Jesus. I have no agenda here. Just sharing my thoughts and what I believe to be truth just like I do in any other of my blog posts! The song ringing through my head as I type this: In every eye that see me, Christ be all around me. Amen. Now let’s get rolling.


Okay, what up, I don’t really know how to start this blog post.

This personal belief has been a long time coming. I’ve wrestled with this question for years: is homosexuality a sin? I was raised being taught that it is wrong, that you’re not born gay, that if you’re gay then you need to stay single and celibate for your entire life. I’ve even had people go as far as to teach me that gay Christians are going to hell. None of this sat right with me, and it was never a conviction that I felt from the Holy Spirit. So I wrestled. I went back and forth on my opinion. I cried about it a lot and prayed about it even more. I talked to a heck of a lot of professors and pastors and friends (both affirming and non-affirming), and here I am. I have a stance. And I believe that it is Biblically backed-up too.

I believe that the Bible we read never once mentions consensual, monogamous homosexual relationships.

Now, keep in mind: I love social justice, but I love Jesus even more. No matter how much my flesh wants to side with something, I have to be able to support said beliefs with my deep faith. I will never turn on my Jesus to fight for a worldly belief. I came to this stance by talking with the Lord and studying Scripture, so I don’t come to this stance lightly.

The Bible only discusses homosexuality six times–three times in the Old Testament, three times in the New. Each time, however, it is discussing something extremely different than what we know to be homosexuality. I could go into each verse more in depth about what each one is specifically talking about, but I’m trying to avoid writing an entire novel. Basically, each passage is talking about rape, cultic prostitution, pagan worship/idolatry, pedophilia, and really just situations in which the relationship is abusive or is already dishonoring to God for other reasons. Never in any of the scenarios is it discussing what we know to be homosexuality: a monogamous, committed, consensual relationship of two people of the same sex who are of legal age to be together. 

In reality, Paul (or the authors of Genesis and Leviticus) had no context for what an appropriate homosexual relationship would look like. When looking back in the Hebrew and Greek language of the Bible, there is no definitive word for homosexuality. The word “homosexuality” did not even exist until about 100 years ago and did not appear in the Bible until 1946 for the first time.

Let’s do a short little word study on the words used in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10. The Greek words are malakoi and arsenokoitai. We don’t know an exact translation for these two words, but malakoi is understood to mean either “soft” and “spineless,” or discusses the act of uncontrolled lust or misused sexuality for ANY gender. So it is not specific to homosexual relations, but any sexual relation that is not honoring to God. Arsenokoitai is a bit more confusing, because a lot of scholars that I’ve read believe that Paul just straight up made the word up. Basically from my understanding, the word literally means “man-bedders.” Okay, cool. But when it is used in other ancient Greek literature, it is talking about economic abuses and exploitations. A lil different than gay sex, ya know? This word is also often linked to pederasty, aka the act of a grown man having sex with young boys. Which is obviously abuse and perverted. And this perverted act of a man (often elite Greek elders) abusing a boy is vastly different from two adults living in a consensual relationship.

(I could talk more in depths about the Greek and Hebrew language used in the other passages, but honestly right now my brain hurts. If you wanna know more specifics, feel free to message me and I’ll be glad to talk about it with you!)

In Romans 1:26-17, Paul uses the word “unnatural” to describe a man having sexual relations with another man. There’s a whole lot that can go into the discussion of using the word unnatural here, so again, please feel free to message me and we can talk more. But the point that I want to make here is that later in 1 Corinthians 11:14, Paul uses the same Greek word for “unnatural” to describe a man having long hair (and vice versa for women having short hair). Okay… so why as Christians today are we still condemning one but not the other? Last time I checked, it was no big deal when I got a pixie cut back in high school. We recognize that those verses that are more cultural specific (long vs short hair, women covering their heads in church, women not speaking in church, greeting one another with a holy kiss) are not relevant today because we are in a different cultural society. So why are we not reading the rest of the Bible through a cultural lens?

The Bible is alive today. It is relevant today. It is still as authoritative today as it was when Paul and John and Moses and David and all those pals wrote it. BUT it has cultural significance. It is an ancient document. Paul’s letters in the New Testament were written to specific people groups in a specific time period on a specific topic… and it’s been pretty scholarly proven that the topics discussed are not the same homosexuality that we know. There is so much cultural context in the Bible, but that doesn’t invalidate anything that it says. Like I said, it is still alive and authoritative today. Recognizing that the Bible has culturally relevant topics in it does not mean that we can’t learn from it as present-day people. Trust me, God still speaks to me everyday from his living and active Word!!!

We really like to pick and choose which passages we want to read through a cultural lens and which ones we don’t. But we don’t have that power to deem something as literally relevant to us or not. We either need to read the entire Bible with cultural context in mind (which is what I believe we should do), or we should read it all 100% straight-forward. Which let me tell ya, would look VASTLY different than the Christianity we know today.

If we did that, men would have to have short hair no matter what (1 Corinthians 11). Women would have to cover their hair when in church (1 Corinthians 11), and they would not be able to even speak while in church, let alone hold a leadership position (1 Corinthians 14). We would have to greet one another with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16). We’d literally be physically turning our cheek when someone slaps us in the face so that they can also slap the other cheek (Matthew 5:39). Tbh, I don’t know any Christian who does all of those things (except maybe not letting women lead in church–that one is still heavily debated, but thankfully I was raised in a church with a woman pastor on staff). Basically what I’m saying is, if you think we should read the Bible straight-forward and not question any of it, please greet me with a holy kiss next time I see you. (jk please don’t do that, but you get my point)

Also, as I’m writing this I’m thinking of prominent pastors who are condemning of homosexuality because the Bible is “straight-forward” in its condemnation of it. But I’m finding humor in this because multiple of the pastors that I’m thinking of are women. Trust me, I 1000% believe through and through that women are allowed to be pastors, but please, if you’re going to be in a leadership position, don’t pick and choose which verses you should read with context and which ones you don’t. We try to make the Bible fit our own agendas when we really need to be making our agendas fit the Bible. I’m for women pastors, but I believe that it is hypocritical to say that we should read the Bible straight-forward about homosexuality, but allow cultural context when reading about women’s roles in the church to benefit ourselves.

There’s a term for all this called “Biblicism.” This is the idea that the Bible “emphasizes together its exclusive authority, infallibility, perspicuity, self-sufficiency, internal consistency, self-evident means, and universal applicability.” And it’s not that this idea is wrong (the Bible is the perfect Word of God), but it’s impossible because the Bible is a historical document written by countless authors over a span of thousands of years, and then edited and placed together and interpreted by even more people. Plus there are genres that we so often overlook!! There’s poetry, there’s drama, there’s comedy, there’s history. There’s literally everything, and all of them will have slightly different tones and messages because of the genre that they are placed in. And like I said earlier, it’s an ancient document written to ancient people. What was true for them and their struggles in their culture might not be relevant today.

When we try to read the Bible literally, we’re missing out on a lot. I believe that we’re missing a lot of points that God is trying to make on a lot of different things if we just take everything face value and never search for context or anything. We have to look at the history and context and everything around a verse in order to get the full picture. If we don’t, we are portraying our own cultural norms onto an ancient text that already has its own specific cultural norms. And I’m pretty sure our God lives and exists outside of cultural norms.

So. Now that I’ve given you all of my reasons on why I don’t believe that the Bible addresses homosexuality, let’s talk about where you go from here!!

I can’t say for sure.

I cannot tell you for sure 100% if homosexuality is a sin or not, simply because the Bible does not address it. I’m not God (surprise/thank goodness oh my gosh), so who am I to be able to declare something that is literally not even addressed as a sin or not? We can’t say that homosexuality is a sin because we have no proof to back up that claim. If we do try to say that it’s a sin, then we are sinning because we are placing ourselves in a God position which IS a sin.

In the same way, I don’t think I can comfortably say for certain that homosexuality is not a sin. I’m not about to put myself in that God role of trying to declare things as sins or not. I just know that it’s not addressed. So I’m going to sit in the semi-uncomfortable place of “hey, I don’t really know for sure. But I’ll support you, because I see nothing telling me not to.”

Listen. It isn’t our place to say if homosexuality is a sin or not. And I’m pretty sure if God didn’t address it in the literal book that he wrote for us, then I’m pretty sure that it’s not as big of a deal as the church is making it out to be. 

I have no place to judge my LGBTQ+ friends. Even if it were a sin, I have no place or right to condemn, and I believe that I would be more condemned by Jesus when I get to heaven for how I treated my brothers and sisters poorly than for standing up for them. 

Above all else, love.

We gotta stop being so obsessed with sins and be more obsessed with people and their hearts and their lives and stories. That’s what really matters. That’s how people meet Jesus. And Church, we’ve been doing a really sucky job at showing our LGBTQ+ friends who Jesus is.

In the Gospels, Jesus hung out with the outcasts. He kinda really despised the Pharisees and spiritual elite. He often found himself with the prostitutes, the lepers, the tax collectors, the crippled, the adulterers. And if that’s the example Jesus set for us, why aren’t we doing that??

I’m not saying that LGBTQ+ people are in the same boat as adulterers or prostitutes (they’re not at all at all at all), but the Church likes to throw them all together and label them under the same category. And that is directly against what Jesus did.

The Church has hurt this community like none other, and there’s gotta be reconciliation. My God loves my LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters just as much as he loves me. He is as pleased with them as he is with me. He sees no difference between them and me. 

LGBTQ+ pals, Jesus loves you. He is pleased with you. He wants you.

Church fam, let’s show them that. I’m not trying to convince you to change your stance. But I am trying to convince you to love this community as Jesus loves them. And Jesus loves them a whole heck of a lot. And to turn away from that is to turn away from who Jesus is and create our own idea of a savior.

So, long story short: I don’t believe that the Bible talks about what we know to be homosexuality. I cannot tell you if it is a sin or not because I am not God and I can’t decide something that I have no Biblical proof for, but I am affirming of my LGBTQ+ pals because I have no reason not to be. Our God is love, and I’m going to live in that love by loving this community and accepting their love. 

To sum it all up, my friend told me this quote the other day and I agree wholeheartedly.

“I would rather get to heaven and God tell me that I loved people too much and too hard, than get there and him say that I did not love people enough.”

A-to the-men to that.


And just some resources for y’all (most of these are affirming resources because I mean, that’s my belief and what I’m writing about, so please don’t get @ me for not linking any non-affirming articles please!!):

An Honest Challenge to LGBTQ-Non-Affirming Christians–a great article on how to love those who are LGBTQ+ even if you don’t necessarily agree with their sexuality.

Jen & Brandon Hatmaker–this is just a short Facebook post from Jen and Brandon about how they came to their stance of affirmation, but it is so so good. They also talk about it in other interviews and blog posts and such if you want to search for those too to hear more in depth about their journey!

The Bible does not condemn “homosexuality.” Seriously, it doesn’t.–this article takes each “clobber verse” and examines their cultural context and Greek/Hebrew meaning. Not the most scholarly source in the world, but I figured I’d link this one instead of a bunch of commentaries on the Greek and Hebrew language because those are a bit of a headache to read tbh. The man who wrote the article is a pastor, so he’s for sure done his research also, and everything he says in here are things I’ve read directly from scholarly commentaries and exegeses!

Candice Czubernat–honestly just a great blog to read from a married lesbian Christian mom.

The Law of the Land has caught up with the Law of the Lord–this one is AWESOME and not a side of the discussion that I addressed. I especially love the chart about the Biblical definition of marriage. So good.

God and the Gay Christian–this book has rocked my world. Seriously. If nothing else, read this. Not to change your mind, but to better understand. This man believes in the Bible as the authoritative Word of God, and it is refreshing to see him dig into Scripture in the way that he does!

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Why We Need The March For Our Lives

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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