Gen X fed up with gun violence, advocating for stricter laws
On March 24, 2018, the United States saw one of the biggest protests in its history as a country.
March For Our Lives is a movement in support of gun control after the Parkland High School shooting on Feb. 14 that killed 17 people. Emma González, David Hogg, and Cameron Kasky, survivors of the Parkland shooting, as well as Naomi Wadler, Yolanda Renee King, Alex King and D’Angelo McDade, and so many others chose to speak out about the injustice of gun violence in America. Generation X is not to be reckoned with, as they are the ones who are telling the stories of those who are ignored and oppressed everyday by our society.
What makes this movement different than previous school shootings is the quick exchange of communication using social media. Not only that, but students are fed up with the situation at hand. They are including the conversations about victims who were silenced, mostly people of color. Eleven-year-old Naomi Wadler spoke out for all African-American girls who have died from gun violence, stories often ignored by the media.
“We might still be in elementary school, but we know…” Wadler said in her speech. “We know life isn’t equal for everyone. And we know what’s right and wrong. We also know that we stand in the shadow of the Capitol. And we know that we have seven short years until we, too, have the right to vote.”
Alex King and D’Angelo McDade took to the podium with duct take over their mouths, signaling how they are silenced by our society and ignored in the face of gun violence.
“I come from a place where minorities are controlled by both violence and poverty…but today we say, ‘No more!’” McDade said.
Yolanda Renee King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter, used her grandfather’s speech to enact her own version.
“I have a dream that enough is enough,” she said. “And that this should be a gun-free world, period.”
Survivors of the Parkland shooting had their own versions of how victims are silenced through gun violence. Emma González began her speech addressing the victims of her high school followed by silence until her timer went off to signify the time it took, six minutes and twenty seconds, for the shooter to kill all seventeen people. She ended her speech with, “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.”
González, in that moment, raised awareness to this movement by telling everyone to stand up for their lives and fight for gun control in the United States.
Arming teachers is not an effective solution to protecting schools. Neither are clear backpacks as some have proposed. As someone who has had family survive the Columbine shooting in 1999, it is extremely difficult to try and understand why school shootings—and shootings in general—keep happening. It is incomprehensible. No one wants to be a part of a club they didn’t sign up for. We need to start paying attention to victims and survivors of gun violence. We need to stop ignoring the effects it has on people of color in low-income communities. We need to change our policies to help fight for injustice.
If we aren’t paying attention to everyone who is affected by violence we are part of the problem. As Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Listen to what these students, this generation, this movement are saying. They are the change we need to see in our country.
Photo: People participate in a March for Our Lives event, Saturday, March 24, 2018, in San Luis Obispo, Calif. (Laura Dickinson/The Tribune (of San Luis Obispo) via AP)