Marquette Wire

BEG: Teens have ability to enact change

The teenagers who attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are now not only labeled as survivors but have turned into activists. These students underwent such a traumatic experience that they are now working to ensure no person, especially students, will have to expereience what happened to them.

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Last week, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School experienced a terrible tragedy when a gunman killed 17 students and injured at least 14 more. This tragedy brings the number of mass shootings up to at least 17 in 2018 alone.

But this one is different. There seems to be a feeling of hope stemming from this disastrous incident.

The teenagers who attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are now not only labeled as survivors but have turned into activists. These students underwent such a traumatic experience that they are now working to ensure nobody, especially students, will have to expereience what happened to them.

The group of students who survived the shooting formed a movement called #NeverAgain, which fights to end gun violence and encourages others to join their mission. Their slogan: “Never again will we fear for our lives.”

Emma Gonzalez is among the inspiring students who forced the American public to listen to what she had to say. She attended a gun control rally this Saturday. Her speech, which was broadcast to various news channels, quickly went viral. At a mere 18 years old, she has enough strength and dominance to empower people to join the movement and fight for gun control.

The students have also orchestrated two protest events, National School Walkout and March for Our Lives, where they plan to have 500,000 attendees. If teenagers are assumed to not have the authority to make change, how are the teens of Marjory Stoneman Douglas making this impact?

A handful of right-wing politicians claimed this movement was a ploy created by liberals to promote gun control because, supposedly, in no world could teenagers organize this. Some also chose to mock the students because they apparently had no true perception of tragedy or a sense of real-world problems.

But teenagers have difficult influences controlling their lives in multiple ways, forcing them to learn about stress and conflict. Teenagers are one of the strongest groups of people because of all the expectations they are constantly required to meet.

The survivors of the mass shooting are not the only teenagers who have made an impact in the world.

Time magazine publishes a list of the most influential teens every year, stressing the countless number who have made a change.

One of these teenagers was 16-year-old Rayouf Alhumedhi. Thanks to her efforts, millions of hijabis all over the world now have an emoji they can use to represent themselves. She was shocked when she texted her friends and could not find a girl with a headscarf on the emoji keyboard. She appealed to Apple and the Unicode Consortium, who control emoji standards. Her campaign gained so much popularity that Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian joined the movement.

Because of Alhumedhi’s efforts, Apple announced the release of the emoji in their new update. Alhumedhi explained how the small edition of one emoji is “a step forward in celebrating diversity and accepting the Muslim faith.”

If one teenager can gain enough attention to influence Apple, one of the largest companies in the world, then imagine the power of 10, 100 or even 1,000 teenagers.

These traits of pure hope and carefree attitudes are what give teenagers the strength to spearhead countless movements throughout the world. These teens will grow into politicians and community organizers, they will run for office and create new policies. But until then, they need those already in these power positions to truly listen to what they have to say.

The great former President Barack Obama, tweeted,

“Young people have helped lead all our great movements. How inspiring to see it again in so many smart, fearless students standing up for their right to be safe; marching and organizing to remake the world as it should be. We’ve been waiting for you. And we’ve got your backs.”

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