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Student activism is a good thing

March 29, 2018

 

Since the Parkland shooting in February, students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have fought to make their voices heard, from voicing their opinions on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram to leading marches and making speeches on national television.

 

Many teenagers across the country have followed their lead. On March 14, thousands of students and teachers walked out of their classrooms as part of the “#Enough! National School Walkout” to raise awareness about the impact of gun violence.

 

On March 24, hundreds of thousands participated in March for Our Lives protests across the country; the turnout was so large that, according to USA Today, the event could be the largest protest in Washington, D.C.’s history.

 

These two events, both of which have garnered national attention, were primarily organized and led by people who are not even old enough to vote.

 

Student activism is no new concept; however, and it is not limited to gun reform efforts. For years, students have been a crucial part of social justice movements since the end of World War II and have made headlines for supporting various causes.

 

In 1963, more than 1,000 young people were arrested in civil rights demonstrations dubbed the Children’s Crusades. In the early 1970s, high school students across the country staged walkouts to protest unequal conditions in their schools.

 

In the midst of student-led rallies and protests, however, many quickly dismiss their efforts, stating that they are too sensitive or too young to truly understand the cause. Teenagers are urged to care more about the world around them, but are discouraged as soon as they do.

 

This can no longer be the case.

 

Whether one supports the cause for which they are fighting or not, though, it should be noted that the youth of America have the ability to make an impact.

 

Student activism is beneficial not only for the students themselves but for the country as a whole. By being aware of social and political issues, the students are able to form their own set of opinions rather than blindly following those around them.

 

We believe these students are the future of America. They will go on to be our legislators, governors, senators and representatives. Their knowledge of and participation in social and political matters from a young age can contribute to positive changes in our country.

 

Whether or not one agrees with these students’ views, it is encouraging to know the younger generations are concerned with matters of the country and want to play a role in shaping its future.

 

Youths have a voice and it should not be silenced; they can give us a new hope for change and a better tomorrow.

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