Following the tragic Parkland, Florida, school shooting, students have refused to let the issue regarding gun violence settle down.
While many students who have spoken up received extreme amounts of backlash, they are not letting it quiet their voices.
Regardless of any backlash students have experienced, they are still seeking out change. Due to this, we have seen copious amounts of support and love given to these students in hopes of providing them courage to continue the fight.
The old saying goes, “Kids should be seen, not heard,” but in today’s society, our youth have had enough. Children across the country have witnessed too many of their friends be injured or lose their lives to be silent any longer. Recently, students have organized walkouts as a form of nonviolent protesting.
Tens of thousands of students across the country have been walking out of their classrooms and schools to support the national protest on gun violence, according to an article from the Washington Post. Many do not realize that these type of numbers have not been seen in size or scope since the student protests of the Vietnam War in the 1970s, the article states.
Students at Normal Community High School, Normal West High School, Bloomington High School and Kingsley Junior High School also participated in National Walkout Day on March 14. Participants either went outside, listened to speakers and held posters supporting gun control, or lined up in their school’s hallways and remained silent for 17 minutes, honoring the 17 victims in the Parkland shooting, according to the Pantagraph.
But the question we have to ask is will these students be able to accomplish what adults have not in terms of gun control laws?
The truth is all of the students protesting gun control laws have full potential to make actual changes. While change might not happen this year specifically, these young individuals have made it clear that it is coming soon. This will be the next generation of individuals who will be allowed to vote soon, and for a lot of them, their values have already begun aligning with one another. Just the mere number of supporters they have gathered due to media coverage will allow them to make genuine changes within the gun communities.
“We want our Congress to know that some of us will be old enough to vote in the midterm elections, and the rest of us are going to be able to vote in 2020 or 2022, and they’re going to lose their job if they don’t do what we want to keep us safe,” Fatima Younis, a student organizer with Women’s March Youth Empower, one of the lead coordinators of the recent walkouts, said in an interview with the Washington Post.
It has come to a point that students feel schools are no longer safe. The schools we are sending them to every day no longer have the potential to keep them safe due to gun laws being way more lenient than they should be. Many students are realizing the only way to bring about change is to fight for themselves before it is their friend’s face on the news or even their own.
“Every time I looked at her face, I thought, ‘That could have been me,’” Beverly Dempsey, a Walt Whitman High School senior, said in an interview with the Washington Post.
With the protests growing larger and larger, we will begin to see more people put aside their differences to stand united under one cause, a cause that has been debated for countless years. During this time, stand behind these students. Correct the people who attempt to tear them down based on age and show support as they use their voices.