By Ben Rodgers
Wednesday, March 14, 2018, was a tipping point for the future of America.
All across the nation students participated in a peaceful protest that was an act of remembrance of the 17 victims who died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida a month earlier.
To have something so impactful rise from the shadow of one of the world’s deadliest school massacres is long overdue.
For far too long countless individual lives have been lost to the plethora of school shootings that loom over this country.
By taking a stand, and demonstrating their right to peacefully protest shows this generation of students is ready and able to unite.
In this upcoming election some of these students who sat united across the country will be able to make their voice heard at the polls.
If enough of them turn out to vote, America can expect some changes.
I have heard arguments that students won’t accomplish anything by walking out of class. Protesting never solved anything. It takes hard work not sitting on your rear.
But what else could they do? Sitting idly by is not going to change anything or unite anyone.
Doing nothing simply wasn’t working.
At Bay Port High School a collective group of nearly 200 students sitting in silence ended up making plenty of noise.
Both the Aswaubenon and Howard/Suamico school districts deserve praise for empowering students and showing them that indeed united they stand and their voices can be heard.
Educators across the country already know what most of us will come to realize – this generation of students can eliminate gun violence in schools.
We as a nation are at a political crossroads.
Hopefully some students who participated on March 14 feel confident enough that their voice can matter, and that they can change things with their vote.
Maybe they will get involved in politics and unseat the old guard that relies on political donations from the gun lobby.
After living through and growing up with the constant fear that nobody is safe in places of learning, maybe they can implement the means to eliminate the threat.
What happened in Parkland was a tragedy. Our collective hearts sank as a nation.
But the cycle following school shootings is fairly predictable after so many occurrences.
People are rightfully sad, people then point blame and vent frustrations on social media, no change comes, and another tragedy occurs. This has been happening for over a decade.
As I stood there on March 14 shivering in the cold, watching the grief and the pain in the eyes of our local students, hope rose from sadness.
Young people have now seen they can come together. They have discovered that united they are stronger than alone.
They have found that they can respectfully make their voices heard.
This generation found out they can and will change the world as we know it.