HS Insider

Opinion: Take us seriously

Photo by Lorie Shaull

Cell phones, social media and slackers.

Welcome to Generation Z. Or at least what they say we are.

On February 14, 17 students were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The aftermath of the event was fueled with the passionate activism of the survivors.

Teens at Douglas High School and across the nation decided to speak out, instead of sitting down and shutting up; these survivors become the new faces of gun control debates. The #NeverAgain movement made its constant and unwavering presence known on Twitter.

The faces of the #NeverAgain movement, survivors Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg and Cameron Kasky, have regularly tweeted companies who support the NRA, asking them to reconsider their business choices. They have given speeches and interviews, written op-eds, and gone toe-to-toe on national TV with pro-gun politicians and activists. They have snapped back at critics accusing them of being crisis actors paid by the left-wing to push an agenda.

The backlash from gun rights activists and conspiracy theorists is not new; it is all too familiar for teens who speak up on issues that will inevitably affect them in the future. The general consensus is that teens are incapable of making change, and if they are capable, they cannot make sound change.

They are too emotional. Too inexperienced. Too whiny. Too young, dumb and stupid to care or understand.
However, change has been made; more companies than ever have cut ties with the NRA.
Oregon lawmakers have tightened up some gun restrictions, while Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law an array of gun limits that included raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 and extending the waiting period to three days. Politicians feel the heat, and for good reason.

Thanks to the teens who have not paused their fight, our generation is finally being noticed. We are not the gun generation. We are the generation of fighters, advocacy, and the speakers of our future.

Whether you believe in gun control or none at all, now is our time. Write, speak, protest and exercise your freedom of speech. Create the America you hope to live in. Set the foundation for the nation you want your children to live in.
We are a force waiting to be reckoned with.

We are generation change.

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