When students began protesting in Feb. 2018, pessimists said to give up. With every word at a rally or walkout, someone else would counter with words of hate. People said the movement would die out, so we might as well stop yelling. The verdict was a destiny of giving up and accepting no change. Then the younger generation began to register to vote in record numbers. Teens all across the country transformed themselves into walking infomercials for the midterm elections and future political endeavors. If you did not know who your state representative was then, you might as well not have known your own name. Politics began to matter for the generation so well known for their apathy. Then their voices got a little quieter. Midterm elections ended and midterm testing began. Confusion swirled around heads as one question struck loud and clear: do we choose to forget and go silent? I hold the answer: no.
MSD’s movement is so much more than common sense gun control and talking about mental health. This movement is a global movement about healing and building a new sense of community. “This movement has changed me for the good. It has made me more friendly, social and spiritual,” MSD sophomore Daniel Tabares said.
The MSD movement gives kids a voice. “I think I’ve changed; we’ve had to become more mature after going through the shooting, and, on an emotional standpoint, extra sensitive to noises and aware of my surroundings. Then, on a high school standpoint, I’m definitely now more busy and I feel like I have more of a purpose,” MSD senior Sari Kaufman said.
Beyond the movement giving students a purpose and a way to heal, the MSD movement gives students the opportunity to become more active in politics. Thirty-one percent of eligible voters aged 18-29 voted in 2018, which is ten percentage points higher than what it was in 2014. While it may seem like a small increase, this shows the power the MSD movement had in just a few months. With time, this age group can grow to become one of the most politically active generations. In order for that to happen, though, we cannot let the movement die out. We need to keep talking about voter involvement and getting to know our representatives. We need to read bills and understand them before voting to pass or kill them. We are part of our own government, we need to act on our power.
“MSD Strong means different things to different people. For me, it means that the youth in our community are very strong, and they have become one. They are seeking out what is important to them and the adults in the community are doing all we can to support our youth and our community,” Parkland resident Stacey Boyette said.
In order to keep the MSD movement strong though, we, the students, need to take action. We need to register to vote and follow through in voting. All citizens need to take charge and research candidates before voting. Students who are not of voting age need to write letters and call their congressmen. Even if you cannot vote, you still have a voice that needs to be heard.
The MSD movement does not only pertain to common sense gun control, but to almost all topics of passion. The movement invites students around the world to voice their opinion. Do not let this platform go silent, instead consider it a civic duty and opportunity to let your voice take the spotlight.