This is What Democracy Looks Like

Encouraging everyone to fulfill their civic duty

Opinion of Joyce Lin

For the past two months, I have been hearing, “Is this whole #neveragain thing going to last?” along with “They’re just kids, they can’t do anything.”

Correction, this is a movement, not a moment.

The recent March for Our Lives marches and rally generated approximately 800,000 participants. To put that in perspective, there were about 500,000 people at the Women’s March in D.C., and between 300,000 and 600,000 estimated people at Trump’s Inauguration.

Why is there so much involvement, why is this shooting so different from past shootings? The short answer: teens generating their emotions into dialogue and action.
Out of all the moments of my life, I have never felt more empowered and inspired than that Saturday afternoon, standing in front of the CT Capitol building, holding up a sign that read “Fear has no place in our schools.”

All around me, I could hear chants of “enough is enough,” “hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go,” “protect kids, not guns,” “never again,” and “this is what democracy looks like.”

Colorful posters raised high in the air, the 10,000 of us stood, shoulder to shoulder, and listened to the moving words of Tyler Suarez, nephew of Dawn Hochsprung, former Principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School who was killed while attempting to stop the gunman.

“For every student who goes to school wondering if today might be their last … every parent who sends their child to school, wondering if that was the last time they kissed them goodbye … change is coming,” said Suarez.

That change is coming from teenagers all around the country. Change is happening and it will continue to, with more power than this country has ever seen.
The truth is, gun violence, school safety, all those issues, affect ALL of us. Even though we may be East Lyme, a seemingly safe and sheltered community, so was Parkland, so was Newtown.

Many of the leaders of the #NeverAgain movement are high schoolers. While many of us are hearing back from colleges and applying for scholarships, student-activists are speaking to politicians and organizing marches, protests, and town halls.
I encourage everyone to participate. You do not have to have an avid interest in politics or government. You just have to have a voice and be willingly to use it.

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