We highlighted the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas in March, a little more than a month after they lost classmates in a February 14 school shooting. These students didn’t just create a hashtag (although they did). They organized the March for Our Lives in Washington that spawned 800 other marches across the country and around the world.
Eloquence and Conviction
They spoke with eloquence and conviction at the March, including shooting victim, Samantha Fuentes, who vomited on the stage and announced, “I just threw up on international television, and it feels great!”
She went on to say: “Our mission is simple, and our visions are unbeatable. Let’s keep the guns out of the hands of the wrong people and keep them in the hands of the safe and the reasonable … so either you can join us or be on the side of history who prioritized their guns over the lives of others.”
The Power of Pause
Near the end of the speeches, Emma Gonzalez took the stage and illustrated in the most painful of ways, the power of the pause. She stood at the podium for the length of time that it took for the shooter to enter the school and kill 17 students (6 minutes and 20 seconds. It was poignant, it was powerful, and it was excruciating.
The students left the March, and this summer began a bus tour to register young voters in time for the mid-term election. Youth voter registration in Florida increased by 41%.
Some of the students headed off to college. David Hogg, who was infamously mocked by a popular conservative commentator for his college rejections, is about to enter Harvard.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
In November, the students received from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the 2018 International Children’s Peace Prize in a ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa.
“The peaceful campaign to demand safe schools and communities and the eradication of gun violence is reminiscent of other great peace movements in history,” Tutu said. “I am in awe of these children, whose powerful message is amplified by their youthful energy and an unshakable belief that children can — no, must — improve their own futures.”
It will be interesting to see what they do next.
Stretch past your limits and become the communicator you were meant to be.