I'm talking about the teenagers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a well armed gunman (a kid really) brought a semi automatic gun into his school and killed 14 classmates and three faculty members.
These teens, even while broken with grief, decided to do things different. We've had ever so many of these school shootings and always there are funerals, memorials, and times of tribute and sharing. These teens aren't skipping any of these important things. But that's not all they are doing. They aren't stopping with thoughts and prayers, they've added action. Already, within one week of the deadly shooting, they have turned into advocates. Strong ones with voices that are clear and precise. They've taken to social media to advocate for stronger mental health services and most importantly, stronger gun control laws and practices. Yesterday they joined together, drove almost 500 miles on a bus to talk to state politicians advocate for more gun control. They are begging them for their lives. These are kids who have, their entire life, lived with the fear and reality of school shootings.
And I am proud of them.
That they got an icy reception is a different matter--but one of concern.
That these same representatives voted down a bill the day before the teens arrived that would have banned many semi-automatic guns and large capacity magazines is also a different matter--and one of great concern.
I want to say, Parkland Teens, keep it going. We need you. We need to learn from you. We need to join in with you. We need to listen to you. We need to change things.
And, thanks. This time, I hope with all my heart, you will help all of us create change that makes America safer for our precious children and youth.