“We, the youth of the United States, have built a new movement to denounce gun violence and call for safety in all of our communities. And this is only the beginning.” — Parkland school shooting survivor and activist Emma González.
At a time of broken leadership in America, and on so many levels, it is truly stirring to witness the #neveragain movement led by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida along with legions of other young Americans.
They’re smart, eloquent, poised, and committed. And they’re determined to act and get results. The focus is on gun control, but this is a movement that will do much more to make the world a safer, better place.
Millions will take part in the historic March For Our Lives on Saturday March 24 in Washington and across the country. Ithaca’s march culminates with a rally in the Commons at 2 p.m.
Emma González is probably right—this is only the beginning. Here’s an extract of the powerful essay she wrote for Teen Vogue this week:
I was born in 1999, just a few months after 13 people were left dead after a shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. From 1966 to the Valentine’s Day that my school proved to be less than bulletproof, nearly 1,100 people have been killed in mass public shootings in the U.S.. From the deaths of 26 at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, to the 2016 massacre of mostly Latinx people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, to the loss of 58 lives at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas last year, we’ve seen mass shootings play out again and again and again.
Gun violence has torn up many communities across the country, mainly due to negligence on behalf of local and national government to properly regulate access to guns, ignorance to their constituents’ varying situations, and willingness to take money from organizations that very clearly do not have the best intentions for the future of the United States.
We Stoneman Douglas students may have woken up only recently from our sheltered lives to fight this fight, but we stand in solidarity with those who have struggled before us, and we will fight alongside them moving forward to enact change and make life survivable for all young people. People who have been fighting for this for too long, others who were never comfortable enough to openly talk about their experiences with gun violence, or still others who were never listened to when opening up about their experiences with gun violence or were afraid to speak out — these are the people we are fighting with and for.