Student protests for stricter gun laws are set for 10 a.m. in every time zone one month after the Parkland school shooting. Follow live updates cnn.it/2Hz0F5K
It’s a shame when children feel compelled to speak up because adults have failed them, but sometimes that’s the only way to ignite groundbreaking change. Think of the children’s marches in Birmingham, Ala., organized by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which brought the national attention he needed to fight segregation in the 1960s.
The Valentine’s Day slaying of 14 children and three adults by an apparently deranged former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School should have brought immediate and dramatic changes in America’s gun laws. Instead, Congress has discussed a variety of meager reforms without passing anything.
No one should be surprised. If the 2012 massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., couldn’t shake Congress out of its NRA-induced lethargy to pass stronger gun laws, perhaps nothing will. Not even another preventable travesty like Parkland.
So, students are taking matters in their own hands, as best they can since most aren’t old enough to vote the lawmakers sitting on their hands out of office. The 17-minute walkout, first proposed by two high school girls in Brooklyn, N.Y., will be their way of saying they have had enough. Adults need to do more than listen to their protest; they need to act.
Not enough attention is paid to the murders that touch the many more children and their families who live in Chicago neighborhoods held hostage to gun violence. But the walkout Wednesday isn’t the culmination of the battle to get tougher gun laws; it’s another beginning. And, unfortunately, many more beginnings may be needed before significant change occurs.
That’s OK. The children who marched and went to jail in Birmingham didn’t see significant change for years. But when change came, they knew they had played a role in achieving it.
I am looking to help students in Chicagoland facing discipline as a result of participation in school walkouts or other demos.
Contact me if you’re being threatened with any consequence greater than an unexcused absence. I will represent you as pro bono counsel. (708)878-7957