We live in complex and challenging times. But something happened in the last month that has given me hope for a saner, safer world: the Never Again movement that was born out of the Parkland, FL school shooting. What makes me hopeful is young people are leading this effort. They took it upon themselves to work together and take action on their convictions.
These teens took their grief, fear, and disillusionment and channeled it into action. They brought their courage, commitment, and resiliency to bear in speaking out with passion and conviction about the changes they want to see in the world. They are using their remarkable organizational skills to plan meetings with officials and media, holding rallies, and mobilizing walkouts. Most recently they spearheaded the “March For Our Lives” in more than 800 cities across the country. They have used their expertise with social media to communicate with peers around the world, inviting them to join this call to action. They have demonstrated their training in debate and public speaking, and the importance of having a clear and compelling message articulated with confidence and passion. They have shown gratitude to their teachers in their lives who have helped prepare them for this work. They are acting today and planning for tomorrow as they partner with adults, learn about the process of making change, and advocate for young people to register to vote and be a part of the democratic process. As Rebecca Schneid, a sixteen-year-old Parkland survivor said, “We understand that this is a marathon and that we’ll be fighting for years. We’re just getting started. Now we have to use our rights as voters to make things change.” It is amazing that these young people have done all of this in six weeks time and in a non-violent way.
There have been several articles comparing the Never Again movement to the Civil Rights movement in the ‘60s. Among the many similarities, this is a movement that has a groundswell of young people, committed to making the world a better place. I have not heard the words of Martin Luther King used, but I have to believe that the sentiment; “I have a dream…” rings true for this cause.
John F. Kennedy said, “We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through the darkness to a safe and sane future.” The young people of Parkland have lit the candle. I respect and admire them and I am hopeful that they will help us not only to have safer schools today, but to create a safer world for all of us and future generations. I wonder where this experience will lead them in their adult life.