It’s Time to Listen to the Kids

 Photo by Clem Onojeghuo  on Unsplash . Photo by Clem Onojeghuo  on Unsplash .

It’s really easy to get stuck in a difficult situation. I don’t mean the situations that are moderately inconvenient. I mean the soul-crushing, life altering situations. Like what happened last week in Parkland, Florida after a man took his AR-15, entered his former school and attacked dozens of innocent students and educators. Seventeen people are now dead, fifteen were injured, the gunman is still alive and the students who survived, didn’t miss a beat. They went to work. The work that elected officials should’ve been doing for years.

It hasn’t even been a week and these kids have already organized, protested and spoken up in ways that cannot be ignored. Without even realizing it, these kids are teaching us adults how to have power in situations where the world would rather see us remain powerless. They’ve shown us how we may be victims of a situation, survivors of an atrocity, but we don’t have to move forward with a victim mentality.

Here are a few ways students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are refusing to stay silent in the wake of what’s happened in their community.

1. They are clapping back.

Emma Gonzalez is an 18-year-old senior who is not here for people telling her and her peers they’re too young to fight this fight. She’s encouraging anyone with video of the event or personal stories to share them, no matter how difficult they are to watch and hear. She wants people to feel even a sliver of what her and her peers did in hopes that it creates empathy and leads to real change.

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2. They are organizing in big ways.

Change within the Parkland community is nice, but these students know instances of gun violence stretch well beyond Florida. So, they’re taking their fight to Washington D.C. in March to be heard. Some students were so moved by what they saw last week, they organized a lie-in at the White House Monday morning.

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3. They are meeting with government officials

My generation and the generation after me are great at serving a read when necessary, but we’re also about our business. Students wasted no time securing time on the calendars of representatives and even the governor.

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4. They are ensuring that this isn’t a moment, but a movement.

Since the Feb. 14 shooting occurred, the hashtag #NeverAgain has been created as a signal of just how determined these kids are to stop mass shootings forever.

Students are leading the way and I think it’s way past time we followed. Stop telling high school students their too young, stop worrying about how they’re doing in school and will deal with everything on their plate. They’ll figure it out, they’re already doing it. These kids are on fire and sick of our shit, as they should be. I plan to support them, amplify their voices and stand alongside them because they’re already doing so amazing.

In the words of Kanye, “listen to the kids, bro,” they know what’s up and they’re going to save all of our damn lives.

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