The Youth Leadership in the Movement for Stronger Gun Control Laws

February 2018 was a horrible, tragic, crushing, somber, and enraging month for the Parkland, Florida community that lost 17 members—students and teachers—in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Undoubtedly, we missed a few emotions for those who must endure the tremendous heartache that comes with losing a loved one—or being reminded of a loved one who’s been lost—especially to this sort of act. Nevertheless, we’re heartened by this same community who seems determined to make their grief count for something.

 

Of course, this determination isn’t really different from other recent mass shootings in which the survivors and the grieving showed plenty of determination. What’s different this time is both the number and tenor of the youth who are speaking out forcefully, thoughtfully, effectively. What’s different this time is the media and the country are continuing to listen.

 

And it’s not like, with the daily palace intrigue in the White House, there aren’t other stories competing for the oxygen in the newsroom. In one way, the youth leadership of Parkland, Florida—and around the country—protesting the lack of commonsense gun regulations is directly tied to President Trump who has outsized influence on the viability of new gun regulations becoming federal law over the next few years. But these two political forces are also connected in a less direct—but potentially just as important—way. There seems to us a palpable tension in the future of America as defined by President Trump and this new youth leadership movement. It seems to use that the media and the country are paying attention to these kids, their struggle, and their voices because we’re all looking around and yearning for signs that the future is not lost or indelibly darkened by recent events but is still pointing up into a dawn that is about to rise. Or so we dare to dream….

 

Doing away with gerrymandering, lowering the voting age, maybe even new gun regulations….Suddenly, nothing seems impossible. A different version of America’s future suddenly feels like—even if it’s far from inevitable—that it could be just around the next corner….

 

It also makes us think about why we decided to resurrect this site. Today’s Youth Leadership Summit is taking place online. Twitter burns that blossom into full-fledged social media campaigns are increasingly the MO of today’s youth-driven activism. But the fundamentals of activism and civil disobedience remain largely unchanged. In the same way, even if our voice is far from the only one, we wanted to add one more voice to the chorus of people—and youth in particular—who are ready to reform and strengthen gun reform laws.

 

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