This time, it’s different: The one-of-a-kind Parkland movement


Katie Pierce

When a school shooting happens, television sets across America light up.  People sit and watch the details pour in: how many people, when, where, and how long it lasted.  People sit and stay silent, either lost in their thoughts or lost in their prayers.  Politicians tweet or post or write statements expressing condolences.  Students and communities grieve and hold vigils to begin the path to healing.

When a school shooting happens, we all hear the names of the dead.  People see pictures of living people, people who no longer get to live in the real world, but on screens and ingrained in the hearts of the country.  People hear the names and wonder which names will be next when this happens again.

Parkland has us doing all of the regular things; praying, thinking, crying and worrying about the future of our country.  The names of Parkland victims are being shared again and again through the news.

Alyssa Alhadeff.  Scott Beigel.  Martin Duque Anguiano.  Nicholas Dworet.  Aaron Feis.  Jaime Guttenberg.  Chris Hixon.  Luke Hoyer.  Cara Loughran.  Gina Montalto.  Joaquin Oliver.  Alaina Petty.  Meadow Pollack.  Helena Ramsay.  Alex Schachter.  Carmen Schentrup.  Peter Wang.

Parkland has us learning about the lives that the victims deserve to be living.  A football coach.  A marching band member.  A dancer.  A swimmer.  A teacher.  A soccer player.  The list goes on.

When a school shooting happens, the government doesn’t jump in like we might expect.  Eventually, we unconsciously forget about the tragedy, and we don’t remember it again until the next one.  But this time, a miracle happened.

When a school shooting happens, we don’t know what it’s like to survive it.  We hear the names of the dead.  But how often do we hear the names of the living?

Jaclyn Corin.  Emma Gonzalez.  David Hogg.  Cameron Kasky.  Alex Wind.

They are the survivors, but they are not just survivors.  They are students.  They are citizens.  They are organizers and they refuse to sit and wait for someone else to do something.  They, like us, have a voice.

Instead of just the pictures of the victims, we are now seeing defiant and determined photos of the survivors; hands raised in protest, mouths close to microphones, eyes raised towards the sky.  It took less than a week for them to organize the #neveragain movement, which in turn has sparked into the “March for Our Lives” movement.

These students are like us in many ways.  They don’t give up easily.  They are busy and know how to work under pressure.  They have dreams and aspirations.  They have opinions.  They are realizing and taking their power back.  Now is the time for us to join their voices.

A group of students staged a lie-in in front of the White House on Monday.  At least 17 students lay silent on the ground in Washington for three minutes; the same amount of time that the students argue, that it takes to buy a gun.

This is just the beginning.  If there is one thing that, we, the teenage protesters, are not, it is complacent.  We are not cynical.  We will not back down even though people tell us we should.  We will not give up because people expect us to.  We will defy those expectations and fight harder.  The future is our future.  We are the future.

Lake Forest students are a part of this protest.  We have the power at this moment in history to make our voices heard.  We deserve to feel safe.  We deserve a chance to speak.  We deserve a future.

On March 14, 2018–the one month anniversary of the Parkland shooting–the #neveragain movement is requesting that students, teachers, and allies walk out of school at 10:00 am for approximately 17 minutes to symbolize the 17 victims of the event.  To show our solidarity, LFHS students should consider wearing the school colors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School: burgundy and silver.

On March 24, 2018, the #neveragain movement has organized a march on Washington.  Similar protests are being organized in cities across America, including Chicago.  The Chicago march is set to begin at 11:00 am at the Daley Center in Chicago.

On April 20, 2018–the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting–the #neveragain movement is organizing a school walkout beginning at 10:00 am, that will last for the entire day.  LFHS students should consider wearing orange; the national color to protest gun violence.

Now is not the time to be shy.  Now is not the time to stay silent.  Now is not the time to step back.  Now is the time to step forward.  Now is the time to speak up.  Now is our time.  Let’s not waste a moment of it.