Following the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida, Emma Gonzalez became a household name because of her dedication to changing gun laws in her state and in the country. The movement called “March for Our Lives” emerged in the aftermath of the shootings, and on Saturday, hundreds of cities took part in the march to stand in solidarity with the victims of gun violence. And what’s been done recently in the government has shown me that youth are the future of this country.
What the majority of people in power don’t understand is that young people actually pay attention to what’s going on because they don’t want to grow up in a time where it is normal to deal with a school shooting or where it is OK for innocent civilians to be murdered. After participating in the rally on the Boston Common after the march Saturday, I was empowered to be standing amongst Boston’s youth. Students from elementary school to college and graduate school were standing in the student section of the rally fighting for our rights as human beings. They chanted with the energy and a mindset to change the laws that are protected in this country.
After all the events were said and done, I took to social media to see what other cities were saying about their march, and one name stood out to me: Naomi Wadler. Naomi is an 11-year-old elementary school student who spoke at Washington, D.C.’s rally. Naomi eloquently spoke about what it’s like to be a girl of color in this country and about how the nation shouldn’t forget about black women who are victims to gun violence.
Wadler’s argument for the misrepresentation of black women in this country goes hand in hand with the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the March for Our Lives. People are quick to disregard the changed called for by BLM, but Wadler’s vision — as well as the views of a lot of other people in this country — understand that the gap between the people who are affected and represented in the media due to gun violence.
Naomi is young, but her age doesn’t prevent her from having a voice. In her speech, she said: “I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls and full of potential.” Wadler’s powerful speech persuaded people that gun violence is not only about the places affected, but also about the lives of the people of color who are singled out and fatally shot by the police or by other perpetrators.
When our president, on arguably the most important day of this presidency (and perhaps all of history), was golfing away at his Mar-a-Lago resort, it dawned on me that the youth have already taken control of the direction of this country. When there is enough force behind something, it moves and that causes change. If the participation of more than 800 cities in “March for Our Lives” isn’t a force, I really don’t know what is.
As I’ve mentioned before, being a part of a country where people are really starting to embrace democracy and fight for their voices to be heard is an incredible thing. Sure, we have a lot to work on, but I’m excited to see what is to come from conservative lawmakers and controversial organizations of the United States. Both the NRA and the government seem to think that a 200-year-old policy can still hold true today. This is clearly false because the way this country has developed is not the way it was when the Constitution was written.
But by hearing the voices of incredible, angered and empowered people like Emma Gonzalez, Naomi Wadler or the rest of the millions who marched and rallied on Saturday, I can tell that change is coming to this country.