After paying attention to the news these past few weeks, it is clear, now more than ever, that high school students are the face of change, the catalysts of a revolution. Before this, some thought that teenagers were lazy, too attached to their phones, and were only good for their ability to form a tweet in less than 140 characters. This idea has clearly been proven wrong as students across the country storm capital buildings, organize school walk-outs, and become the voices that will be written in history textbooks.
These young people, and God what a force to reckon with they are, are the hope we have needed all along, but never thought to look toward.
My name is Savannah Mather and I am from Newtown, Connecticut. Yes, that Newtown. The one where just over 5 years ago, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred. I was only 12 years old when it happened, too young to understand how someone could murder 20 children, but too old to block it out of my memory. And I am sure that this how the students from Parkland, Florida feel right now.
Newtown and Parkland will forever be connected by such unfortunate circumstances, however I am incredibly empowered to say that we stand with them. We say enough is enough.
Just days after the tragedy, students in Florida walked out of their classes to outside of their schools to protest the nation’s epidemic with gun violence. The entirety of the media covered this event, with headlines such as CNN’s, saying “WALKOUT” in big, bold letters on their homepage. The nation’s attention was on them. But that was just the beginning.
Marches,walkouts, and protests have become the platform for high school students to express their disapproval with current legislation. So long are days when everyone thought it was good enough to post thoughts and prayers on social media. The kids have left that up to the politicians.
Because if we are being honest, thoughts and prayers are insufficient in demanding change, much like how most influential figures have been. Those guys, with their tweets of condolences and their endorsement checks from the NRA, have absolutely nothing against the strength of a few hundred thousand angry teenagers.
I have to say, while living in a country that so proudly boasts its freedoms and ability for the pursuit of happiness, I have never felt more American than I do right now, standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow kids across the nation who demand a better tomorrow.
We are sticking up for one another’s lives, hoping that one day our own kids will not leave for school, worried of whether or not they will come back. Though there has always been an uprising in the conversation for gun control after any tragedy, there is something different about it this time. The kids are angry. This is not a protest that we will participate in for one day, and then forget all about it the next. This is the fight of our lives, and most would say,for our lives.
Every monumental change in American history started with young people.
From the civil war to civil rights, the demand for action has always been prompted by the youth. Perhaps this is because we know that if we do not do something now, then who will? There is no better time to shake up the world than right now. We are more than “just kids,” we are the future, your future.
In most instances, we have to pay the price for the adults’ failures. We will be the ones who inherit the government and its laws, and the road to that achievement starts now. So to all of my fellow students reading this, do not lose faith, keep fighting, keep sharing, and keep up the amazing work. We are rewriting history.
Cover image via BeetBox
Also published on Medium.