After a brief hiatus from the blog, I have been catapulted right back into writing. What got me right back has been the grit and tenacity of the children of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The ones who survived the horrific shooting where 17 of their mates were murdered. What they had to live through on that tragic day and what they continue to live with is something so difficult for us to imagine.
Safety of our kids at school
I have a daughter who goes to school. Like every parent throughout this world, I too want my child to be safe. In the immediate aftermath of the school shooting, I first thought of my daughter and her school.
These incidents are becoming far too common to ignore for us parents. Even though we are half-way across the globe, each shooting brings the violence closer home.
There is HOPE
At the same time, I am also optimistic about the future because of these incredible students of that school. Even as they deal with their loss and pain, what these students of Douglas High School are doing is unbelievable. They are speaking out with more guts, passion, conviction and common sense than most adults do.
They are grieving. They are hurt. They are doing something about preventing further shootings.
These children, not yet old enough to vote, have channeled their passion and their energies to bring about positive change. They are converting their anger to bring urgent national attention to the controversial topic of gun control.
The horrific incident, the loss of their friends, brothers, sisters, and teachers did not deter them or scare them. It gave them the sense of urgency. ‘No more school shootings’ is their goal.
That this is being done by a group of high school students is beyond impressive. That Emma Gonzales hand wrote her famous ‘We call BS” speech in a notebook just a few hours before she read it out, just blows my mind.
They are the frequently berated ‘millennials‘. They were born in this age. Emma Gonzales, Cameron Kasky Sarah Chadwick and David Hogg (just some of the survivors of the shooting and a part of the group know as Never Again MSD)- they understand social media and have leveraged it to their advantage. Today in just 2 weeks after the incident Emma Gonzales has more twitter followers than the NRA.
It is not just about the number of followers. Cameron Kasky used Facebook and Twitter to start a #NeverAgain Campaign. The students used social media as a platform to share stories of fellow survivors, to pay homage to the victims, and to reach out with their stories and to change the conversation on guns.
What helped them was their awareness of the issue. While speaking to Ellen DeGeneres they mentioned that they used to discuss current affair issues like gun control in class. This gave them the wherewithal to respond with the maturity when the need arose.
Today’s teenagers are aware of the issues facing them and not afraid to act. They said enough is enough. If the politicians cannot do anything about it, we will force them to do something. Their motto is never again.
They have started a movement. There is massive March for our Lives being organized by them in DC on March 24 so the legislators and lobbyists can no longer ignore them.
Within days of the shooting, they had started a GoFundMe campaign. Today this campaign has raised over $3Million including sizeable donations from Oprah, George and Amal Clooney, Steven Spielberg and many others.
Such is their reach that over 450 sister #MarchForOurLives events are being organized worldwide. GO JOIN THEM wherever you may be.
They don’t need no fancy office. They sit on the carpet in the living room of one their fellow student’s house to coordinate their campaign, reach out via social media, do media interviews – all in order “to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address… gun issues.”
There is an immense sense of purpose. While many politicians tried to obfuscate the core issue with other issues such as mental health and safety, these students remain steadfast in drawing the attention on gun control.
They have been heard
Their impact has been so strong that many companies have cut their ties with the National Rifle Association. These include names like Symantec, Hertz, MetLife, Avis, Budget Rent a Car, TrueCar, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines.
Walmart has raised the minimum age for firearm purchase to 21. Dick’s Sporting Goods has stopped selling assault-style rifles.
More than all this, these kids give me hope about the future of this world. Their sense of purpose, their belief, and their values are what the world needs more of today.
God bless these kids for in them lies our future.