Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not represent the views of Babble.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a hospital maternity ward, overjoyed at the sight of my new baby boy. But inside, I was also still reeling — just as we all were — from the recent Parkland school shooting that had claimed the lives of 17 people a few days before. I couldn’t shake the avalanche of headlines that kept coming; especially the ones that noted it was the 18th gun-related school incident to unfold since January alone.
Looking at my new son’s peaceful little face that day, I was angry that instead of hope and joy for the life that he was about to embark on, I felt terrified of the world I had just brought him into.
Everywhere I seem to turn these days, I am told that the current youth generation is a disaster. Ruled by mass shootings, heroine addictions, cyber bullying, social media obsessions, and lazy, entitled, “everyone gets a trophy” mentalities.
Every day, the headlines remind me that if nothing else, my new baby is promised a future that no mother would want their child to be a part of. A future where his life could end just for showing up to school.
This past weekend, I cried more than I thought I would, as I sat watching March for Our Lives play out on the news. Probably a bit from my hormones, but also from watching people like Andrew Pollack, the father of a Parkland victim Meadow Pollack, talk about how he would never see his daughter again. How can any parent feel confident raising their children in a world where far too many walk out the door in the morning and never return?
For weeks, I’d been hearing students like senior Delany Tarr insist that we need to “address the failures that have created a … horrible situation like this.” And I’ve listened to the words of fellow student David Hogg, with his message to lawmakers and congress, to “please, take action.”
But taking action in a world where the adults can’t seem to get it together enough to sort out our governmental failures — and our youth are being swallowed into one tragedy after another — can seem nothing short of impossible.
At least, that’s how I felt until Saturday, March 24 rolled around, and saw hundreds of thousands show up in Washington to literally march for their lives.
“There are so very many things, so many steps to take,” Delany told the crowd of protesters in DC. “We are not here for bread crumbs. We are here for real change. We are here to lead.”
And lead, they are.
As CNN pointed out, in just five weeks, the Parkland students have taken immediate action to ensure that their message isn’t one that ends when the nightly news turns off. They have actively engaged with the media, and raised more than $3.7 million dollars, garnering support not just from their own community, but from people across the globe, including many celebrities.
As the #NeverAgain hashtag has trended its way across the Internet this past month, we watched schools ban together while students walked out of class, and parents cheered them on in support. And the youth of our world found not only their voices, but also their hope.
And in the process, they’ve given me hope.
With each student who took the stage this weekend — including Emma Gonzalez, who stood silently for six minutes and twenty seconds to symbolize the amount of time it took for her classmates to be killed — I saw so clearly what each one brings to our future.
It’s scary to see our teenagers struggling with situations that many of us never had to deal with at their age; and it’s even scarier knowing that we don’t know how to fix the problems that we’ve created. I’m terrified of raising a child in a world that constantly reminds me that the next generation is doomed. But now, I have hope that I never had before, in a generation that I never gave enough credit to. Until now.
These students, this generation, they are not going to be quiet any longer. They are doing what we as adults haven’t done for them, and they are working to be the people who will do what we didn’t, and change things for those who come after them.
“We will take action every day, in every way, until they simply cannot ignore us anymore,” Delany told the crowd. “Today we march, we fight, we roar. We prepare our signs, we raise them high. We know what we want, we know how to get it, and we are not waiting any longer.”
Make no mistake, a change is coming — because these kids are not going away. They are not the kids that we gave them credit for being; they are the future that we always needed them to be.More On