Why Young People’s Voices Belong in Politics

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Student Cameron Kasky questions Senator Marco Rubio at a CNN Townhall event.       PC: Townhall

Today’s generation of young adults and teenagers find themselves being subjected to a variety of stereotypes. From narcissism for taking selfies, to idiocy for a few kids eating Tide Pods, it is not uncommon to see today’s youth being labeled as entitled. These stereotypes are tools that people will use to shut down any argument a young person might make concerning politics, and this is an attitude that has culminated in recent weeks.

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida resulted in the death of 17 people, including 14 students. The tragic event has had a large impact on today’s youth, because they are questioning if they or their friends will ever be truly safe at school, as the same atrocities occur again and again with no change being put in place.

But today’s youth won’t allow themselves to be victims, because they want to be a part of the solution. Despite politicians’ dismissal of young people’s rallying cries for change, their voices only continue to get louder. Emma Gonzales, a Douglas High senior who survived the shooting, is an example of a young person pledging to pressure politicians to cultivate some kind of change. Gonzales gave an 11 minute speech in front of the Broward County Courthouse, righteously calling for change in policy to be made so the same tragedy does not occur again. Her speech went viral, exemplifying the furiosity boiling within today’s youth.

The fact of the matter is that our generation of high school and college students are our future, and their political concerns have more validity than many give them credit for. When the Columbine High School massacre has been bumped from being on the top 10 list of deadliest school shootings, it goes to show that not enough has been done to protect our children in school. When students from kindergarten all the way through high school have been victims of school shootings, it is abhorrent to say that young people shouldn’t have a voice in politics. When your friends are being shot down at their school desks, that is an indicator that there needs to be massive changes in policy concerning gun control.

The survivors of the Douglas High School massacre took center stage against politicians in a CNN town hall concerning gun violence, where they were unafraid to look at Marco Rubio in the face and challenge him about his ties to the NRA. It is clear that these students won’t allow the tragedy imposed upon them to fall into darkness, as they continue to lead a powerful dialogue about gun control.

Young people’s voices have transcended gun control, and they speak volumes about immigrant rights, the LGBT community, feminism, and #BlackLivesMatter. These young people rally in protests, fists and signs in the air, voices quaking with demands for change. These young people are the change that America will see in the years to come, and they won’t fade away so quickly or easily.

So call today’s youth entitled, because perhaps we are. Entitled to safety in school. Entitled to human rights. Entitled to be the at the spearhead of progress rapidly moving mountains in America.

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Natalia Gevara

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