It's been a little over a year since I made my decision to become politically active in a world that desperately needed my attention.
On March 14th, 2018, I, alongside hundreds of my fellow classmates and thousands of other schools across the nation, decided to walk out of school in hopes of making a statement about gun control in America. For those of you who don't know, this walkout was initiated after the fatal shooting that occurred at a high school in Parkland in February of 2018. After many events took place in America due to gun issues, students across the country decided they had had enough.
In the area that I grew up in, I would say the population was very divided. About half of the people supported the student walkout, whereas the other half didn't want anything to do with it. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but I think all students deserved and still deserve to feel safe at school.
For those of us at my school that felt empowered by the thought of the walkout, we really went all out. We made posters, sold orange t-shirts, and wrote statements on a poster that read "We March Because...." I think we all knew what kind of an impact we were trying to make, but looking back on it, this created a high precedent for the generations to come. It showed our teachers, administration, and local news stations that while they may not have seen an issue, we did and that there was something to be done about it.
It has been one year, and, disappointingly, not much has changed. We marched to the state without hesitation that we need better gun control l for the sake of our lives because no one should have to go to school in fear.
It has been one year, and the only precautions that are being taken are ones that teach people what to do when these "inevitable" situations occur. Within my old school district, students of all ages will soon have to participate in active shooter drills. You know, like how schools have annual fire drills? 5th graders will now have to learn what to do if someone opens fire in their school. People have now encouraged students to learn how to work a tourniquet, something that stops the bleeding when someone has been shot.
Students shouldn't have to endure this. While I completely agree that it is necessary to teach kids how to stay safe until our government takes action to solve this issue, we still need to consistently reinforce the fact that this is not normal. I'm not aware of every gun law and what the best solution is to solve this national crisis, but I do know that a 17-year-old boy shouldn't have access to a gun and that these shootings shouldn't be something we're used to seeing in the news.
Social media has allowed us to become complacent. We use a hashtag for a few weeks, outraged and frustrated with the current state of our nation, and since our political climate is so contentious, we move on to the next thing that is bothering us. There's a lot to fix, but by moving on to the next hot topic, our government is repeatedly let off the hook for something that they have the power to change.
So did the walkout do what it was intended to? Maybe. It became a part of history and will forever show that at one point, we weren't complacent. But a year later and Twitter has forgotten what took place and the people around me have forgotten the significance of the movement as well.
It has been one year and the world is silent about it all, and I think that speaks volumes.