Let the Youth Lead – My Thoughts after the Parkland Massacre

Again we have news of a horrific school shooting, this time in Parkland, Florida.

Having cried many tears this week, I find myself wondering why we can’t we get legislation passed that would make these kind of shootings less possible. And, how can our leaders be so tied to money from the National Rifle Association that they can continue to defend assault weapons?

I’ve watched the story unfold this past week with a broken heart, listening to the stories of the young survivors. And while devastating and overwhelming, hope arises like a phoenix from the ashes as I listen to them.

Yet, I remember feeling hopeful that we could change the laws after previous gun rampages.

  • After first graders were gunned down at Sandy Hook, killing 20 children and six adults.
  • After 49 people were gunned down at Pulse nightclub.
  • After 58 people were gunned down and 851 injured in Las Vegas at an outdoor concert.

But now these students are ready to stop this from happening again. It began with Occupy, took hold with the Movement for Black Lives, and continues with #MeToo. It is a legacy of the civil rights era, when young people fought for change and pushed their elders to finally do something.

Young people are calling out politicians who accept money from the NRA, and they are not accepting their excuses or any “solutions” that don’t call for major gun control and banning assault weapons.

They are demanding a “No NRA money pledge,” and businesses like airlines and insurance companies are pulling back their support for the NRA.

They are going to state capitols, to Washington, D.C. and walking out of schools to demonstrate and call for #NeverAgain.

I believe that these young leaders can accomplish things that we haven’t yet been able to do. So what can we do to support them?

With the upcoming 2018 elections, we have a chance to elect politicians that will work for the things we believe in, especially gun control. It is unbelievable to me that there is no minimum age for the possession of long guns or long gun ammunition in Federal law. It is incredible that background checks are so cursory in many states. After Las Vegas, I cannot fathom how bump stocks can still be sold.

Now it is time for us to follow the children in demanding change.

Students were key players in the civil rights movement, and are key players in every movement being built today.
That gives me hope.

I will continue to work for change, which is how I manage these challenging times. My focus is training, especially giving people the tools on how to best register folks and Get Out the Vote in order to be able to hold our elected officials accountable. And I want to see these young people, from Parkland and other cities and towns around the country, turn 18 and turn the tide when they vote.

Peace, Power and Love