As the parent of two teenagers and a founder of a tech startup devoted to empowering teens, I am inspired by the young voices speaking out for change. Many of these students who are too young to vote today, some too young to drive, yet and still have organized, assembled and are making their grievances heard. These underaged constituents are taking the initiative to let those in political office know the clock is ticking. Gun regulation must be addressed now, or in just a few short months and years when the students become of legal age, the same politicians will pay for their inability to act today. Truly the old battle cry, “How long? Not long!” is apropos here.
I am inspired because from a position of perceived powerlessness, and too impressionable by video games and movies to have clear and mature thoughts, these young people empowered themselves. Now, local, state and federal legislative bodies better take heed. Many of the current office holders remember how not too long ago, African Americans felt disenfranchised, were perceived powerless and were often pacified by political powerhouses when speaking out against the state of an unjust America. But, because of an unwavering and undying spirit that sparked a groundswell, the times changed, laws changed.
As Black History Month winds down, I remember as a young girl being baffled that our people had to fight and die to gain basic inalienable rights, i.e., to drink from a clean water fountain or sit at a lunch counter. I didn’t understand how one group of human beings could feel so superior to another group that they would deny their humanhood.
Today, I’m encouraged that history does not have to repeat itself. Instead, our young people who are informed, empowered and energized to effect change will continue their relentless pursuit of life, liberty and the right to attend schools without easily accessible guns ending up on their campus.
To my own school aged children and all others across America, know you are powerful. You do not have to wait for the arbitrary age of 18 to use your voice. Join your fellow students in taking charge of your life, your future and the type of world you choose to live in.
All the best ahead,