While receiving overwhelmingly positive attention for their work in rallying teens nationwide to combat gun violence, the #Parkland teens are also the targets of random cranks and critics. The silliest charge leveled against them is that they couldn’t possibly comport themselves in the manner in which they have without coaching from liberal operatives. What a sad way to devalue and dismiss America’s youth.
Who are these teens?
These are the same people whose academic standards have been set higher than almost any generation before it.
This generation has had to defend itself against exploitation from adults (some of whom run for office and support other predators who run for office). Prior generations suffered in silence. This generation no longer has to be silent, but still struggles to be believed. They have learned to find their voices, here, too.
This generation has fought to own their identities, values, and bodies – yet another fight which has taught them to find their voices.
This is the group of young people who communicate with their global peers on twitter, instagram, xbox, playstation, and a host of formats that most of us have not yet heard of or may ever know. They communicate with global peers who are shocked at the levels of accepted gun violence directed at children and teens in America. They communicate with global peers, none of whom have ever had to practice “active shooter” safety drills in school.
They are the people who have been treated as acceptable collateral damage in our glorification of gun culture over the defense and care of our children. They dare to refuse to become collateral damage.
At times by intent, often by sheer dumb luck, these are the young people we have created. Instead of criticizing them, we should be grateful that they are our current justice leaders and future social and elected leaders. I am confident in the bright future of this nation in the hands of the following leaders (and many others whose names and faces we still don’t know):
At age ll, Naomi Wadler is representing the girls whose stories don’t make the evening news:
“You can hear people in power shaking in their boots”
“… five years ago, this happened… five years ago and no change has come…”
“Bullets do not discriminate, so why should we?”
“We need to arm our teachers, with pencils, pens, paper, and the money they need to support their families and support themselves, before they can support the future…”
“Keep Screaming at your congressmen…”
“I learned to duck bullets before I learned to read:”
“6 minutes, 20 seconds….. fight for your life before it’s someone else’s job”
Jennifer Hudson voices the hope – and hard work- of this movement”
Support from Malala: