If you ever had doubts about the youth of America, solidarity shown by teens advocating for gun control during #NationalSchoolWalkout events across our nation served as a good reminder that this is our future. Our nation’s students proved they’re committed to advocating for what they believe in as they walked out of schools across the country protesting gun violence. They demonstrated compassion as they honored students of Stoneman Douglas with 17 minutes of silence. Teens also embraced collaboration by working with administrators to plan in-school activities that showed support of national issues.
Yesterday I was in Washington, D.C., watching as area students descended on the White House, arriving from every direction. As large groups of students approached, the crowd interrupted their chants of “What do we want? Gun control. When do we want it? Now!” and erupted into a cheer.
When the clock struck 10 am, backs were turned to the White House and everyone sat in place. For 17 minutes, student protesters sat in silence to honor each of the victims killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month.
No one talked. No one got up. No one commemorated the peaceful protest with a 17 minute of silence selfie.
And when 17 minutes had passed, the group rose. Students gathered their signs, collected their friends, turned right, and resumed their chants as they made their way down Constitution Avenue towards the United States Capitol.
As a former teacher, I could tell that today was about more than wanting to skip school. I listened to the conversations between students that happened between chants as they walked. They were able to articulate the need for gun control, understood importance of advocacy, and felt it was their Constitutional right to peacefully protest.
The parent in me knows that today was a chance for kids to apply lessons learned about civics, government, and the Constitution inside the classroom outside of the classroom. But even though the show of solidarity was important, we need to help our kids advocate for the change they so desperately want for our country by continuing the conversation at home. Changing our country’s laws about gun control is a marathon even though we wish it was a sprint.
8 Ways Parents Can Help Kids Continue Advocating for Gun Control