Letter from National School Walkout’s Leadership
To young Americans everywhere:
For too long, gun deaths have been written off as casualties sacrificed on the altar of freedom. We watch as our countrymen and women perish in streets, homes, and churches; at concerts, clubs, and theaters; and, of course, in schools. There are too many families rent asunder by a twitch of the finger. There are too many parents who hear a horrible truth from a police officer on their porch. There are too many faces that crumple into a twisted expression of hot tears and heaving sobs after learning that they will never again hug their child. There are too many empty seats at the dinner table, hollow spaces that serve as reminders of loved ones who once filled the room with warmth and laughter. There are too many mothers who must don black and bury their children less than a week after they last planted a kiss on their foreheads. There are too many siblings who still feel the longing ache of an absent companion, forever separated by a long-ago act of brutality, hatred, and rage. There is too much pain in America.
We can end the daily bloodshed in our country, and we can make history while doing it. We can rise up together and declare, with one ringing voice, that the age of national indifference towards the ever-growing death toll is over. We can change America forever, all before we reach 20 years of age.
This movement formed in the aftermath of the shooting in Parkland, Florida. Three weeks ago, the National School Walkout wasn’t so much as an idea, but today we are hundreds of thousands strong. Already, we have forced the politicians who control our country to change the script, demanding more than ‘thoughts and prayers’ in response to seeing 17 lives mercilessly snuffed out in a place where they should be safe. The credit for this success goes entirely to you, the supporters of the movement across the nation, from the packed streets of Los Angeles to the stretched-out plains of Kansas, from the tranquil canyons of Arizona to the cool forests of Maine.
The future of this movement is similarly dependent on you. Every student who walks out of class alongside their peers, every teenager-turned-activist who works tirelessly to achieve something incredible, and every city that sees thousands of young Americans pour into the streets to demand that their government do better will be the difference that changes the gun laws in this country and saves lives.
Ridgefield High School, Class of 2018