A sixth grade girl spoke at the March For Our Lives Rally in Milwaukee.
She talked about the fear of being in school, a place fostering growth. She told the crowd that her brother recently began kindergarten, and with that mile’s stone came fear and worry that suddenly he was going to be in school. Fear etched into the minds of her parents, and worry creased into her brows as she spoke.
When she talked, I was thinking about myself in sixth grade. Did I worry about safety? Was I educated about politics, about the NRA, about guns and the bloodbaths that places of safety around the nation have become?
I honestly believe I focused more upon crushes and my soccer team, and what my mom packed me for lunch.
This young girl was inspiring. It was inspiring to see young people stand up on a podium in front of hundreds of people, using the power of their voices to make a difference. They told the crowd that it was no longer an “adult issue.” In fact, as long as gunmen mow down friends, classmates, teachers, and family members, this issue actually hits very close to home.
And yet, it is an issue that still blows my mind. We argue and take sides and become close-minded when people disagree. Usually these disagreements happen on opposite party lines, and it creates hostility and anger and fear in the minds of individuals on both sides.
Yet, isn’t this an issue about life versus death? Is it not as simple as protecting people from being brutally shot, to insure that every citizen of our democratic country has the right to safety and peace?
The people in the crowd were diverse. There were grandparents holding up signs saying they were worried about the wellbeing of their grandkids. There were young kids, chanting and marching for a safer future, and college aged kids fed up with Paul Ryan and the NRA, or just looking to commemorate the victims of gun violence. Strollers and wheelchairs flooded the march route, and signs were held proud as people chanted for a better future.
According to EveryTownResearch.org, on an average day, 96 lives are taken by gun violence.
Enough is enough. Let’s value safety of everyone, no matter their race, privilege, or gender. The time for change is now.