On Sunday morning, as US residents turned on their televisions over breakfast, they were met with powerful words from five survivors of last Wednesday’s deadly school shooting in Florida.
Speaking on networks across the country, and the world, these students revealed their plans to undertake the March for Our Lives campaign.
“Today I would like to announce that we have an event coming up to encourage the nation to talk about what we are talking about,” Cameron Kasky, 17, told CNN, as he sat with four of his fellow students.
March For Our Lives is going to be in every major city and we are organising it so that students everywhere can beg for our lives.
In Washington on March 24, the students will march, demanding that the safety of children becomes first priority.
“We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around,” he stated bluntly.
The announcement comes a day after students, families and their supporters rallied for stricter gun laws to prevent any more deadly shootings.
Emma Gonzalez, who gave a powerful speech at the rally that echoed across social media and captured the internet’s heart, added to reporters:
We’re going to be facing this with trepidation and determination, and we have an incredible support system around us. We are going to be the difference.
In a heart-felt piece of writing posted on CNN over the weekend, which has gone viral, Cameron wrote:
Though we made it home, 17 people didn’t. Those 17 people were murdered on the grounds of a school that has always felt like the safest place to be in a town that’s been called the safest town in Florida…
This time, my classmates and I are going to hold [the government] to account. This time we are going to pressure them to take action. This time we are going to force them to spend more energy protecting human lives than unborn fetuses.
As many of those in the older generations continue to sit back and ignore the ongoing tragedies, the youth are no longer staying quiet. Turning this tragedy into an opportunity for change, this campaign is just one of many student-led protests gaining momentum on social media in the wake of the attack.
“I’m just a high school student, and I do not pretend to have all of the answers. However, even in my position, I can see that there is desperate need for change,” Cameron told the world.
While some may think these kids cannot force the change needed, the power of youth should not be underestimated.
In 2016, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, who was just 16 years old, sued the US Government for their lack of action on climate change.
“I think one of the biggest steps that needs to be taken…is understanding the power that the younger generation has. To use a voice that hasn’t always been heard in our world, but, in a way, has always been one of the most powerful voices.” he said at the time.
Not every young person is a front line spokesperson, or an activist necessarily, but they have a voice.
Last week’s tragic attack was the deadliest US school shooting since 2012; and, hopefully, with the incredible youth of 2018 standing strong, it will be the last.