February 21, 2018

Standing with Parkland Students

Zinelle October Executive Vice President

I love the enthusiasm from the teenagers who survived the Parkland shooting.

In vivid detail on social media, you can see an awe-inspiring transition from victims to survivors to activists. Twitter hashtags morphed from #ParklandSchoolShooting to #ThrowThemOut to #NeverAgain, and later #MarchForOurLives.

Over the weekend on the Sunday talk shows, the Florida students became the most vocal advocates for gun safety and voting. At rallies, their hand-made signs told the story.

A telling NPR interview with ACS board member and Professor Adam Winkler documents what has (not) happened in our country following major school shootings and the prediction for change in the next year. We need our youth to engage in our civic process, and I'm encouraged to see them do so.

The Parkland students have galvanized our nation with plans for “March For Our Lives” on March 24 in Washington, D.C. and around the country. Parkland senior Emma Gonzalez’s remarks issued a powerful warning to lawmakers and gun advocates, rousing chants of “Throw them out.” In a New York Times opinion piece, Don’t Let My Classmates’ Deaths Be in Vain, Christine Yared echoed that message, stating “We need to vote for those who are for stricter laws and kick out those who won’t take action.”

Clearly, it takes children to do what adults have failed to do.

I hope that our youth send a message to elected officials by pre-registering NOW. Several states allow youth to pre-register to vote. In Florida, for example, teens can pre-register to vote at 16-years-old.

ACS calls on all of our youth and the entire nation to join us in spreading the word on pre-registration. Leading up to the March 24th marches, we're hoping to see record pre-registration numbers.

Let's spread the word that our youth are engaged and will not stand for business as usual.

Criminal Justice, Democracy and Elections, Gun Violence Prevention and Second Amendment, Voting Rights