We felt overwhelming pride and a deep well of sadness as our island children filed out of their classrooms on March 14 to march the Friday Harbor High School track. Friday Harbor elementary students also participated by reflecting on kindness at an assembly lead by Principal Diane Ball. It was a deeply moving day that gave us hope during a dark time.
Tens of thousands of middle and high schoolers across the country from large cities to small towns paid tribute to the 17 lives lost in school shootings, most recently at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
We take pride in a generation willing to stand up against violence. We salute these young people who have grown up in a world of evolving technology, social media, endless wars in foreign lands and television screens blasting coverage on mass shootings. So often we show disdain for these teens whose heads are buried in iPhone screens, but the walkout was led not just by island youths but by tens of thousands of students across the country showing their power and influence. Thanks to the power of social media young activists can easily rally large numbers of protestors, which may have not been possible in the past.
We hope that our local students will continue to follow the national trend to take part in politics and ask lawmakers the tough questions.
Adults should take notes from these kids that we can’t afford to be complacent. It’s time to take a stance, find a voice and take action. We stand by the movement and people who say, “Enough is enough.”
If you want to get involved in local activism the Friday Harbor March for Our Lives will take place Saturday, March 24 at noon. According to organizers, islanders will take to the streets to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today. The Friday Harbor demonstration, spearheaded by two high school freshman, will join the estimated 821 other marches that will take place nation-wide the same day to make sure voices are heard.