FIRST THOUGHT: Strength in Unity
Apathy doesn’t create movements. Indifference doesn’t illicit change. When Gandhi and 60,000 Indians marched in protest of British rule in 1930, they weren’t impassive. When, in 1965, 3,200 nonviolent demonstrators marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, during the course of five days, they weren’t wavering. And when more than a million people of every generation, background and orientation marched across the United States for gun control in 2018, they weren’t nonchalant. Today, we’re talking about the power of those who stand together in anger and sadness and purpose to make a difference. We’re talking about how much bigger and louder our voices are when they’re in unison.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 800,000
That early 2018 gun-control demonstration was deemed the March for Our Lives and made a significant impact in allowing protestors’ voices to be heard. According to organizers, this remarkable student-led rally, through which concerned citizens demanded stricter gun-control laws, brought together an estimated 800,000 protesters in Washington, D.C., alone, and countless more throughout the country. Specifically, the group’s mission is to elicit universal, comprehensive background checks when anyone wants to obtain a firearm; to digitize the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ database; to demand funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research the gun-violence epidemic and to call for a ban on high-capacity magazines and assault weapons.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Emma González, Co-founder of Never Again MSD
The March for Our Lives demonstration was organized following the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people, including many students, were killed, but the students who survived boldly channeled their overwhelming grief into a powerful and outspoken movement. One of those students is the strong-willed and purposeful Emma González.
Prior to the shooting event, Emma was your average high-school senior. She is the daughter of a lawyer and a math tutor, and is the youngest of three kids. This year, she wholeheartedly threw herself into her studies, including taking an AP U.S. government class, and she enjoys creative writing and astronomy. Emma’s future seemed clear-cut: She’d go to college, start a career and live a happy life. Then the unimaginable happened and Emma was forced to huddle in her school auditorium with her classmates as the sounds of gunfire and fire alarms filled the halls and classrooms.
The effects of being a part of a terrifying event such as this include shock, guilt, grief, numbness. What surprised the nation is that many Marjory Stoneman Douglas students have turned their trauma into action, with Emma being one of the most candid. She co-founded the gun-control advocacy group Never Again MSD and has been a recognizable face since her 11-minute rally speech, in which she called B.S. on those who allowed this tragedy to occur.
Emma and her fellow students’ overall mission isn’t just about making noise or spreading awareness. It’s about empowering fellow youth to get involved with local and national politics. Many of these individuals will be able to vote this November, and Never Again MSD urges them to get educated and use their vote as their voice.
During the March for Our Lives, Emma led a moment of silence for the classmates who lost their lives. It lasted six minutes and 20 seconds, the exact amount of time as the shooting spree. Despite the evil and tragedy that occurred, we’re grateful Emma and her schoolmates banded together to demand change and create an impassioned movement for all our lives.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Let’s conclude today’s On The Dot with a quote from the fearless Emma González herself. She said:
“We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks, not because we’re going to be another statistic about mass shootings in America, but because...we are going to be the last mass shooting.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.