by Shannon Rose “Shay” Eaton, youth leader of the Susquehanna Valley Ethical Society
This Saturday, March 24, 2018, marks a very important march that will no doubt be written and talked about in the next few weeks, and hopefully will be included in history class for future generations. It may even be compared to the March on Washington during August 1963 where the famous “I Have A Dream” speech, spoken by Martin Luther King Jr., made a permanent mark on the Civil Rights Movement. What makes this upcoming march as iconic as the march in 1963 is that this time around students from middle school to college age are stepping up, leaving trivial things behind, and taking reign of the conversation of guns and the NRA’s power in the USA.
An important part of this new uprising is the amount of news and connection students can gain from the Internet and social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Tumblr. Parents and media alike have always said that the Internet has forced children to grow up too quickly. Certain ads, videos, and sites have forced young children to think differently about what it means to be “grown up.” However, this time around, the Internet has forced children and college students to see victims and survivors of these senseless acts of gun violence in America. Students have the whole Internet at their fingertips and in their pockets at all time. They can educate themselves in this subject that has been lacking in other turbulent times in America’s political history. Students can research to whom the NRA has been giving money in the past and then a few minutes later post the evidence on public forums for the whole world to see. In just minutes, they can share videos of how long it can take to purchase an AK-47. Students have a hold of this topic and are tired of seeing their generation die.
I am one of them. I am a part of this resistance along with the leaders of the #NeverAgain Movement, created by Cameron Kasky, Alex Wind, Sofie Whitney, David Hogg, Emma González, and Delaney Tarr, along with millions of students and parents backing us up. I am hopeful for this march. We won’t be ignored any longer, even the walkouts in schools across the nation made news all over the world (another walkout is planned for April 20, on the anniversary of the Columbine massacre). This march will be bigger because students know we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. We want to protect our communities, our friends, our generation, as well as the generations that come after us. We see the bigger picture and realize that too many politicians and adults have failed us. I look to the march on Saturday with hope and determination. My peers know that we cannot be complacent or uneducated about this any longer. We realize that any one of us could become a statistic and reduced to a number on national news some day. I see the nation changing in my lifetime and I want to be a part of the revolution. I want to be an activist and a voice in my community for the numbers of students who don’t know how to start. I will always lend my voice to those who don’t have one.
So yes, I am one of those students that scare politicians like Marco Rubio. I look forward to joining the March For Our Lives in DC on March 24th. I can’t wait to see people of all ages and students gather around the nation in protest of the NRA and the politicians they pay. I look forward to the day that I can feel safe in school, in movie theaters, in malls, and on the streets of this nation without having to worry about becoming the next victim in a solvable problem. I fear this nation will become its own undoing. When a nation loves its guns more than its people, something is wrong. But as the NRA says, maybe it is a heart issue more than a gun issue after all.