TIME Magazine’s latest cover features five survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month. These five students— Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Alex Wind, and Jaclyn Corin— have become vital advocates for gun control, which has become the most controversial topic of the year. The cover shows the students standing together with angry expressions on their faces as the word “ENOUGH.” is boldly printed across the page.
The five students organized the #NeverAgain social media campaign as well as the March For Our Lives protest set for Saturday, March 24th. They also organized last week’s 17-minute walkout at schools across the country, reflecting on the lives of seventeen people that were taken in the shooting. During an interview, “60 Minutes” correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi asked the Parkland students why they believe they can have a bigger impact than the parents of Sandy Hook victims. Alex Wind stated, “We are the generations who have had to be trapped in closets, waiting for the police to come or waiting for a shooter to walk into our door. We are the people that know what it’s like first hand.”
The most important thing to take away from this story is that nobody should ever feel they are too young to speak up about controversial political issues. According to The Washington Post, this is the first premeditated mass shooting where the people involved grew up entirely in a world in which mass shootings were common, and which targeted people old enough to have a voice. High school students are also at a time where they start to develop their own political beliefs and values. They often start to veer away from their parents’ views and opinions and figure out what might be important to them. Teens are also used to the immediacy of news and answers due to the advancement of technology they grew up around, so they will be persistent until they receive solutions from the government. This generation also understands how easily one person’s opinions, experiences, and posts can go viral. They are familiar with platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram which make it easier to voice their beliefs. Much to their advantage, the POTUS is also very active on social media, making him easier to reach.
I hope the story of these brave students will encourage other children and teens around the world to use their voice to create positive change. Being that TIME Magazine is generally read by adults, seeing this cover story should inspire you to encourage your children and students to stand up and speak out.
After all, they hold the power to change our future.