There have been three mass shootings in U.S. schools since the beginning of 2018, totaling to 18 incidents in which a gun is shot in a school. Eighteen. Three months into the year, and the United States has experienced three mass shootings and 18 gun incidents in school, the latest being the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Those students lost a total of 17 classmates, teachers and friends that day. Up until the Parkland shooting, the trend of these tragedies has been to grieve, to act and to let it fizzle. This time around, however, students went straight to acting. They’ve been striving to ensure, through their activism and grievances, that the gun control debate remains active until they see legislative changes. Speaking straight to the politicians, students are themselves walking the walk to make sure the change they envision becomes more than just an idea.
These students spoke in rallies and organized their own makeshift media centers just days after they had gone through major trauma. Whether at a picnic table in a nearby park or in the living room of one of their houses, students would set up meetings in which they answer and make calls to and from volunteers, donors, news outlets, community organizations and anyone interested in the movement.
Within a week, the students mobilized nationwide school walkouts and organized March for Our Lives, a march in Washington, D.C. set for March 24. Their activism has become national news; their agenda will likely support and progress in various cities across the country.
The difference between the reaction of this school shooting and those prior can be partly attributed to use of social media. The victims of this shooting are old enough to use their voice to inspire — and they have tools to do so. Through social media, they have been able to set up a sucessful campaign, spread awareness and rally support from around the globe. You can find this campaign by searching the hashtag #NeverAgain on various social media platforms.
These high school students have been fighting for stricter checks and restrictions on gun purchases and more reliable access to mental institutions; they have progressed a debate that has been, due to partisan division, arguably idle for many years in this country. Regardless of where you stand on the matter, these students have been teaching the nation an important lessons.
These students’ accomplishment shows that anyone of any age, gender or background can make their voices heard and progress change on matters they’re passionate about. We all have the power to create change; we don’t have to wait for those in charge to do it for us. We can take steps in our own neighborhoods, with our own social media accounts. We have the power to continue transforming our country into one that we feel safe in — not only for ourselves but for our future generations, too.
Visit March for Our Lives for more information about the movement and about Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.