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On April 16th, 2007, I distinctly remember waking up and having this feeling that something was wrong- even before I’d turned on the news, my heart felt heavy. Little did I know that feeling would continue to grow in the next few hours and days to come. Little did I know that I was living on a campus that would be involved in the largest mass shooting at that time. Little did I know that in a few short years there would be another mass shooting that would take more lives than the 32 lost that day. Little did I know that politicians would rather line their pockets with greed than put human rights first. Little did I know that in America people hold gun rights above that of human life. Little did I know that it wouldn’t be until 2018 for our country to rise and pledge Enough is Enough. Little did I know that as a mother my children could face the same monumental feeling that I felt that morning. Little did I know I would have to March for Our Lives. On April 16th we pledged to neVer forgeT, and on March 24th we demanded never again.
On March 24, 2018, I was one of the million Americans that marched, demanding better for our families. I was stunned by the charisma and strength of the youth that organized the March for Our Lives event. The impact of being even remotely involved in a school shooting forever changes you. From now on when these students enter a room, they will calculate how many windows and exits there are, where they would hide should someone intending harm were to enter, or how they’d escape. Every anniversary they will look back and be reminded of that dark feeling they experienced that day. Something black and rooting that scars you. The very same thing that awakened them from being an everyday kid to an adult. This feeling shook their core, and in minutes those children were jerked out of their innocence and thrown into adulthood.
These children looked death in the eyes and decided- enough is enough. As we move forward, we rise together to force the hand of so many politicians that have bathed in the blood of our children to break ties with NRA. We will make them get on board or we will vote them out. It is time for America to wake up and realize the rest of the world has this figured out. It is time for change. If the adults aren’t willing to elicit change, the new generation of youth is here to rock the core of NRA funded politicians. No longer can they masquerade behind an outdated and ineffective portion of the Constitution. Life is fluid and meant to ebb and flow with the tide. Just as stagnant water becomes infested, so does life if we are not continuously moving out of the shadows and into the light. We are angry, but we are not hopeless. Fueled by the energy of the youth, we fight alongside them to protect their right to live. We fight to end gun violence. We march for our lives.
We are confused, saddened, and angry because we can see the other side. We can see why we don’t need weapons of war in the hands of citizens. We are baffled as to how you can’t. We aren’t coming for all your guns, just the semiautomatic assault rifles that are being used to gun down our children in sanctuaries of learning. We fight to enact common sense gun control. We waited for you to come to your senses. We waited for you to understand. We’ve waited for you to turn the corner and see the light. We’ve waited, but we cannot wait anymore – not when the lives of our children are at stake.
As a mother, I pledge to fight for sensible gun control so that all children have the chance to experience this world to the fullest. My children will use their textbooks to learn not protect themselves from bullets. My children will not become a statistic; they will not become a poster. My children will join hands with me and the millions of others and march forward – they will not become acclimated to a culture of gun violence, they will not know what it is like to lose a friend, a classmate, or to see their school fall apart and rebuild itself.
Today We are all…
Today, we are AMERICA.
Today, we March for Our Lives.
And today, we say: NEVER AGAIN.