Young people have gotten a bad rap since, well, forever.
Their hair is too long. Their hair is too short. They’re disrespectful. They’re lazy. They’re slobs.
If even half of what has been said about them were true, who can blame them for bad behavior? It’s a right of passage for teenagers everywhere to rebel against authority.
That’s what makes this new generation of young people so damn impressive. They’re not sitting on their butts! They’re actively participating in our democracy!
I am in awe of the high school kids who have spoken so eloquently about gun reform, passionately expressing their all too real fears for their own safety.
At a time in their lives when it wouldn’t be uncommon for their thoughts to be limited to scoring weed and hooking up, many in this new crop of adolescents are speaking up and out about things that matter. To them. And to me.
I can’t thank them enough for it. And for doing it so bravely, thoughtfully and articulately.
Thank you Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In spite of the nasty backlash you’ve received, you inspire your generation and the ones before you.
Thank you to the students all over America who walked out of their classes last week, coming together to call attention to guns and violence.
A special thank you to Audrey Wright, a junior at North Lawndale College Prep, a young marcher who was featured on the front page of the Chicago Tribune with red tape across her mouth on which was printed:
How many of us need to die in order for you to pay attention?
Audrey, that photo of you simultaneously brought tears to my tears and gave me goosebumps.
Back when I was in college at the University of Illinois, gun control seemed like a slam dunk (Boy, was I wrong.) I even wrote a term paper advocating for it thinking it would bring me an easy A.
After all, who could disagree with an idea which would probably mean less innocent people would be killed? (Wrong again. A lot of people disagreed then and now.)
Decades later, after Sandy Hook, I pushed for common sense gun laws on my blog. But when Congress was unfazed that 20 darling little children were robbed of their futures, I lost something. Something called hope.
Young people, thank you for giving me hope again. Thank you for your resolve. You commitment. Your activism.
I figure the best thing I can do right now is to support you is to participate in March for Our Lives on March 24, a march for gun reform. I hope you join me there.
America is listening to you right now, teenagers. I don’t know how much or for how long. Our nation has a short attention span.
But know this, young people: You are a powerful force when you use your voices. Congress best pay attention to what you’re saying. Very soon, you could be voting the bums out of office.
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