By Sara Fraser
Sara Fraser examines how the Parkland High School students have inspired young people everywhere to stand up for what they believe in and actually work to enact change.
Within days after the Parkland shooting, students had already launched a battle against gun violence — one that quickly spread nationwide. It's hard not to be amazed by the ability of the Parkland teens to have been through such a trauma, and still have the motivation to be part of one of the nation’s most heated debates on gun control.
Many of these teenagers seem pretty normal, wanting to change the world and the things they disagree with but discovering it may not be so easy. However, over the past month these students have become the major instigators in fighting current gun laws.
The question is, though, can these kids actually inspire real change in the White House?
In past years, a pattern has emerged in response to gun violence in America: a horrific episode of gun violence occurs, our nation mourns, some offer ideas of gun reform, and others offer their condolences. No real change is enacted, and those not directly affected eventually move on.
However, in the days after the Parkland shooting, something different happened. The students who had survived the Parkland shooting spoke out directly to the NRA and demanded gun reform, publicly calling out the NRA and shaming the leaders they felt needed to enact change.
Most importantly, the Parkland students gave students around the nation a cause to rally behind and the inspiration to speak out.
As similar organizations combating gun violence have started to team up with the Parkland students, some have accused the students of being paid or simply being faces in other organizations’ agendas. However, while the students welcome help in spreading their message, Parkland Junior Cameron Kasky recently said, “You can help us, but you're not going to run us.” “There are some things we're going to inevitably need help with. But our message, our organization, our platform — that's us.”
Kasky’s stance on help from other organizations proves how inspiring the Parkland students own movement is. It is 100% led by them. They are the ones who are sick of feeling unsafe in the school where they go to learn every single day and they are the ones who are going to do something about it.
In fact, maybe the movement is as much about inspiring young people across the nation to speak up as it is about gun reform.
I think that although every teen in America may not be focused on reforming gun regulation, hopefully the Parkland students and what they have accomplished can prove that the young people of America are powerful, and we do have the power to create the change we want to see.