These faces of the future give me hope. These “fed-up” brave young students have had enough! I wish they could be marching for something other than their lives. It seems it came to this, at this time, to raise up new voices, new voters. They are defying and rewriting history by telling politicians they’re going to be smeared in the textbooks, that their legacy will be gone if they don’t stand up with them now. For the old dinosaur politicians, time’s up! The “Z” generation are here, are loud, and have had enough. We stand and we march with their youthful enthusiasm for change.
Time magazine’s new cover features survivors of February’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting who organized this weekend’s March For Our Lives protests for stronger gun laws in Washington DC and other cities and states.
“Enough,” reads the headline, superimposed over the crossed arms of Parkland senior Emma González — now a recognizable face in the fight for gun control, thanks in part to an impassioned speech in the days after the shooting and her trademark buzz-cut hair.
The cover also features her outspoken fellow students, Jaclyn Corin, Alex Wind, Cameron Kasky and David Hogg.
I listened to Emma’s speech at the Mall in DC. I watched her unwavering teary-eyed gaze at the camera for the 6 minutes 20 seconds of silence that represented the time it took to gun down the dozens of students, 17 who died. Powerful silence! Her eloquent words followed by the silence that spoke volumes. Watch and be inspired by her! She is a voice of the hope we seek.
Gonzalez and Hogg are among the student activists featured in the documentary “39 Days,” which aired on CBS Saturday, March 24 at 9 p.m./8 p.m. It aired opposite a two hour civil rights special about Martin Luther King, which brought this entire issue to heart. Peaceful protests and what they did and continue to do. It mirrored police brutality then and it mirrored a fight for their lives.
Last week, their efforts inspired students across the nation to walk out of their classrooms to protest gun violence. Students at many schools observed 17 minutes of silence to honor the 17 people who were killed in the Parkland shooting.
“Over the past month, these students have become the central organizers of what may turn out to be the most powerful grassroots gun-reform movement in nearly two decades.” wrote Time’s Charlotte Alter for the magazine’s cover story. “For much of the rest of the country, numbed and depressed by repeated mass shootings, the question has become, Can these kids actually do it?”
Tallahassee State Capital Student Protests featured in the documentary “39 Days”
Most of these kids cannot vote, order a beer, make a hotel reservation or afford a pizza without pooling some of their allowance. On the surface, they’re not so different from previous generations of idealistic teenagers who set out to change the world, only to find it is not so easy.
The students have had plenty of help. Organizing “protest marches” require money for the communities involved for “crowd control.” If you’ve participated in one you know the amount of planning involved. They’ve raised more than $4 million from small donors on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe, plus a couple million more from celebrities like George and Amal Clooney, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey. A top Hollywood PR firm is assisting with press requests pro bono, and Women’s March organizer Deena Katz is volunteering as a consultant on the march. The gun-reform advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, backed by billionaire former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, has given out more than $1 million in grants to local organizers planning sibling marches around the country, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is sending busloads of kids to Washington, D.C. Democratic megadonor Tom Steyer pledged $1 million to gun-safety groups’ efforts to register more high school students to vote. “Our biggest problem is that we’re getting too much help,” says Corin.
They envision a youth political movement that will address many of the other issues affecting the youngest Americans. Hogg says he would like to have a youth demonstration every year on March 24, harnessing the power of teenage anger to demand action on everything from campaign-finance reform to net neutrality to climate change. But even if none of this works—even if they never pass comprehensive gun reform, and net neutrality fails, and Citizens United endures, and climate-change legislation stalls—today’s teenage rebels will become tomorrow’s establishment leaders, informed by the experience that may already be shaping the gun debate.
And that, says Hogg, is the bottom line for politicians who side with the NRA. “You’re gonna be smeared in the textbooks. Your legacy is gone,” he says. “If you don’t stand up with us now, you’ll be standing against us.” Then added, “we are the revolution.”