End the Normalization

Art/Jennifer Bloomer

Art/Jennifer Bloomer

I’m just 15 years old, and I’ve been raised in a world where gun violence has been normalized.

For far too long have we turned on the TV only to hear news about another mass shooting.

For far too long have we gone to school and walked the halls in fear.

For far too long have we experienced lock-down drills, wondering if we would be the next school or if we would be the next news story.

For far too long have we remained silent and failed to use our voices. But this ends now. The time is up for action.

We are here to fight until we no longer have to fear for our lives in schools, malls, nightclubs, concerts, and our places of worship. It is time to put an end to this normalization of gun violence within our country. For those who are telling us we are too young to take a stand and too young to truly understand what’s going on, somehow we aren’t too young to go to school with this daily fear and unease.

We aren’t too young to be shot in our classrooms and hallways.

We aren’t too young to be shot in our synagogues and churches.

We aren’t too young to be shot in our homes.

We must honor the words of civil rights writer and activist, Toni Morrison: “If there is a book that you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” I urge everyone here and everyone who hears my voice to join me in telling the stories that aren’t told, to honor the lives senselessly taken by the inaction of our politicians. I urge each of you to help me write the narrative for this world so that victims of senseless gun violence will never be forgotten.

We are here today fighting for our lives and demanding something be done to prevent these shootings and destroy this mass normalization. We must continue to fight for common sense gun legislation and demand that our lawmakers actually listen to our voices rather than ignore us by cashing in on their contributions from the NRA. How many more of us have to die before we take substantial action?

We must vote for politicians who value our lives over profit.

If I could vote, I would vote for every victim of gun violence who has simply become just another statistic.

I would vote for every black man profiled and murdered by the very people that should be protecting them.

I would vote for every student, every teacher, every preacher, and every human.

If we don’t speak up, who will? We cannot allow our schools, malls, nightclubs, concerts, and our places of worship to become our war zones. We must turn our anger into action because enough is enough! I stand here in front of you today to say this: we can and we will be the generation to fix this mass epidemic.

We are the present and we are the future.

We are the change.