Editorial: Young activists earn respect by not allowing issues to fade from the spotlight

Martha Especulta/The Et Cetera
Martha Especulta/The Et Cetera

In response to the deaths of 17 people in a school shooting, students who survived the attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, decided they would not let the issue fade out of the public eye.

These students took to the media and to government officials to make their beliefs about gun control heard.

Emma González, a survivor of the shooting, spoke at a rally and called upon others to demand gun reform from their government.

While other advocates for numerous issues have lost the wind to their sails after days or if perseverant, weeks, these students do not show any sign of slowing down.

While we as an editorial board do not all agree on a solution to mass shootings, we applaud the students’ courage and their willingness to stand for what they believe despite fierce contention.

González has gained so much momentum that she now has more than 1.1 million followers on Twitter.

More people are following González than are following the NRA, which has around 600,000 followers.

This just goes to show how much González sentiment resonated with the majority of Americans.

The young activists participated in town hall discussions with CNN, conducted sit-ins at legislators’ offices and protested legislators supporting gun rights in the United States, online and on the streets.

This is not a unique occurrence in history.  Young people have repeatedly shown they are willing to take a stand on issues that impact them.

From the 1950s through the 1970s, youth protested the Vietnam War by burning draft cards and fought to end the segregation of schools.

Students in Los Angeles staged walkouts over high dropout rates, overcrowding, and the lack of Mexican-American history lessons.

This time, a youth movement is brewing to meet Second Amendment advocates in the fight over gun control.

These students are fighting to make their schools safe. But they are facing criticism on substantial levels.

Some students have been accused by crazed conspiracy theorists of being crisis actors. Internet trolls criticize them for being the same generation that swallows laundry pods for social media fame.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio even criticized the movement, tweeting that the newest generation is arrogant and boastful.

If you disagree with the arguments of these activists, challenging them with such weak character attacks is not the way to go.

Look at the movement they created and start your own.  Instead of sitting behind your computer retweeting a meme, fight their ideas instead of trying to discredit them with their youth.

We commend these young people for not being deterred from their beliefs and not allowing this debate to fade away as it has so many times before.

Their movement mirrors the ferocity of those during the civil rights movement.

They are challenging those in power and demanding a debate in Congress where it has previously been non-existent.

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