As the nation grapples with the latest mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, we’ve come to expect a formulaic response to the tragedy. Photos of sobbing parents plaster front pages of our newspapers. Flags are lowered around the country. Press conferences are held and promises are made. Eventually, the commotion fades out until the next shooting.
But this aftermath is palpably different. In a turn of events, the targets of the attack have become the loudest voices in the inevitable gun control debate. Rather, than ask for privacy or slink away from the national spotlight, these students have embraced it and used it as a platform to voice their passions. Since the shooting on Feb. 14, students from the high school have appeared on NBC , ABC, Fox News, CNN and CBS to call for stricter gun control. In addition, students are speaking out at rallies and are promoting two national marches to occur in March in favor of gun control.
“Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the N.R.A., telling us nothing could ever be done to prevent this: we call B.S.,” senior student Emma Gonzalez said to a crowd gathered in Broward County Federal Courthouse, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Senior David Hogg started documenting the transpiring events as the shooter was on campus. Reporting from inside his classroom, Hogg interviewed students and filmed the reactions. His eerily, hushed whispers served as a voice-over for the video. Hogg later explained that he wanted his video to have an impact in the possible event that his voice wouldn’t ever be heard again. His voice would be heard however, as he, like Gonzalez began taking a strong stance based on
“We need to stand up, go out and vote, talk to our legislators, and get educated. Be persistent. Because these interest groups and these politicians will not listen if we don’t speak up,” Hogg said.
These students encapsulate what a well-educated student should contribute to the world. Their arguments are calculated and informed, passionate and brave.
Their bravery can inspire other students to use their voice to prompt policy change, including Central Connecticut students. CCSU students must utilize their platform and take action, whether it be advocating for affordable higher education or a issue students feel passionate about. CCSU provides the tools and resources to do this; therefore, it is left up to the students to take the initiative.
Recently, the Student Government Association and other students went to the legislative office building and presented their testimony against the state budget cuts. This is an example of students representing CCSU and voicing their concerns that can ultimately lead to legislative change for affordable higher education. This is just one of many ways to prompt change.
Legislators cannot fully understand how cuts to the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities budget can limit students access to quality education. They cannot fully understand how gun laws can prevent guns getting into the wrong hands. It will only take someone who is directly impacted by these laws to stand up for not just themselves, but for everyone else. The Stoneman Douglas High School students took that initiative, and CCSU students should too.