Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas went to school on February 14th expecting a day filled with love, cheesy Hallmark cards and the usual nagging responsibilities of high school. But while leaving school that day, they were faced with a nightmare — the kind of headlining story that sends chills down your spine and makes you wince at the thought of it ever happening to your hometown or your child.
Until it does. And it did, for the grieving community of Parkland, Florida, who are now faced with the task of burying the 17 unique lives that were lost last Wednesday after a 19-year-old former student opened fire with a semiautomatic weapon at the high school.
Unfathomable is the most fitting word that comes to mind when I think about the events that took place last Wednesday; unfair is another.
The survivors of the carnage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the majority being students, took to social media to express their grief, anger, and bewilderment in the form of poetry, photos, memoirs, and most importantly, a demand for change.
Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas are letting the world to know that they won't allow what happened at their school to happen ever again; they call it the Never Again movement. They are demanding change now and they're not waiting until it's too late again. They've informed the world that they aren't allowing their voices to diminish from the spotlight anytime soon. They're aggressively placing themselves in front of representatives and allowing themselves to be heard loud and clear. They don't want this to be like every other mass shooting that was swept under America's rug after just a week of dominating the headlines. This time is going to be different.
Students-turned-activists are taking immediate action by organizing nationwide marches, rallies, and even a trip to the State Capital with bill propositions regarding gun control and mental health.
They are articulate, compassionate, brilliant and above all, loud; another good example of this is survivor and senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Emma Gonzalez, who stated the following at an anti-gun rally in Parkland:
"Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving. But instead we are up here standing together because if all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see."
In her empowering speech, Emma proceeds to call out an array of people who she believes are a part of the problem; this list is including but not limited to the NRA, politicians that are puppets to the NRA, and our president, Donald Trump.
People around the globe are expressing their admiration for the courage being shown by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas; people from every party are supporting them. Many agree that this isn't about political parties or choosing sides, but merely about doing what is right - not allowing more children to be killed in schools as a result of this country's lack of action.
A group of mourning high school students, some of whom aren't even of legal age to watch R-rated movies yet, are taking more action and showing more humanity than our current president has, well, ever. They are working tirelessly to make a change just days after the most traumatizing event of their lives. After losing classmates, friends, teachers, and likely part of their innocence, they are standing bravely in the face of our country's leaders and saying, "Fix this. Now."
It doesn't take a degree in political science to understand that stricter gun laws need to be implemented in this country.
It doesn't take an expert on firearms to know that a 19-year-old with a mental illness shouldn’t have access to semiautomatic weapons.
As I type, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas are working to fix the country that so devastatingly let down their classmates, teachers, and friends. Don't underestimate the power of the youth. We may not have the degrees or PhDs yet to prove ourselves, but we have the capability of knowing what makes sense and what doesn't. It's very simple to us.
Children being slaughtered in schools just doesn't make sense.
These students/survivors/activists/badasses are not only our future, but they are our now. Pay attention to them- the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas are going to change the world and to those of you in their path of destruction, be very afraid.
Rest in peace to Alyssa Alhadeff (14), Scott Beigel (35), Martin Duque Anguiano (14), Nicholas Dworet (17), Aaron Feis (37), Jamie Guttenberg (14), Chris Hixon (49), Luke Hoyer (15), Cara Loughran (14), Gina Montalto (14), Joaquin Oliver (17), Alaina Petty (14), Meadow Pollack (18), Helena Ramsay (17), Alex Schachter (14), Carmen Schentrup (16), and Peter Wang (15).
If you have the chance, please take a moment out of your day to read a little bit about each of those lives lost. They were special. The world deserves to hear about it.
If you want to get involved, you can reach out to your state and local officials or join in on the nationwide walkouts/protests planned by the student survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
You can also get involved by simply listening and passing on their powerful messages.
Lead Image Credit: CNN