NEW YORK – Janet Ekstract – March 24, 2018 will never go down in history as just an ordinary day because today the courageousness and determination of America’s teens will be tested as they lead The March For Our Lives in Washington D.C. where at least half a million people are expected to protest for tougher gun laws.
The March For Our Lives Action Fund, a 501 (c) (4) nonprofit set up for the event, has already raised millions of dollars toward this cause as well as expenses to cover the march. The funds will also be used to lobby for gun safety with a diverse board of directors who are ready to tackle this issue.
Making their voices heard is the main priority for this march along with sending a very clear message to the Trump administration: we will not stand down, we will not go away.
One of the simplest messages from 17-year-old student, Lilly Pribish has now gone viral. She very simply said, “As a 17-year-old, I really don’t have a voice in Congress or in politics because there’s not much I can do. If there’s an opportunity for my voice to be heard, to do something, I’m going to take that.”
So far, the administration has backtracked on Trump’s original pledge of facing down the National Rifle Association (NRA) and when the facts are examined – numerous media reports a month ago commented that Trump’s campaign was funded $30 million from the NRA.
The only current legislation that has congressional backing is the Fix NICS Act whose goal is to reform the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to improve data collection for state and national law agencies. The unfortunate truth is that the minimal package that the president signed off on is mostly supported by the NRA.
This begs the question: Is placating the NRA more important than protecting the lives of innocent students of all ages?
If, as many have said, that silence equals complicity then it would seem that the chances of the Trump administration taking any real action to prevent the next school tragedy just waiting to happen – may be null and void. As 17-year-old senior from Staten Island, New York – John Papanier, so frankly stated: “I hope that there will be real change, instead of this bogus (proposal) that the president has put forth, which doesn’t even mention assault weapons at all.”
Papanier continued, “I’m talking real laws. They’re just trying to quiet us with a joke of a (proposal).
March For Our Lives is clearly a wake-up call to Washington that should have been heard a long, long time ago. What results, today’s march will have in the long term is anyone’s guess but one thing remains certain – youth are leading the call as ‘warriors’ in the most positive way.
For anyone who saw the new film “A Wrinkle In Time,” it expressed a dedication to following the truth and to standing up to the forces of evil with determined courage and discipline. Kudos must go out to these teens who have very forthrightly and bravely spoken out against a status quo that has gone on far too long in an America that claims to honor its First Amendment rights for all.
The reality, sadly is far removed from the ideal that these very outspoken and intelligent students seek. In the meantime, many other twin rallies across this country and in many other nations are planned to coincide with March For Our Lives.
And be sure that whether the NRA, gun toting enthusiasts or the Trump administration disagree with what this march stands for – sooner or later – they all will be called to be accountable when the next Parkland or the next Columbine or the next Virginia Tech shooting incident occurs.
In a nation that prides itself on freedom, in a nation where so far at least 150,000 students have experienced an on-campus shooting – as the Parkland survivors stated early on: “Enough is enough.” And as 18-year-old Kate Lebrun so appropriately said: “It should have been enough a long time ago, enough for people to start doing this amount of stuff. I realized if we don’t start now, it’s never going to happen.”