With each school mass shooting my prayer is always the same: ‘May this be the tipping point that awakens us’. Thurston High School, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and so many others. But with each shooting the NRA doubles down. Politicians who rely on the NRA for funding and political endorsement resist reasonable gun control.
But Parkland feels different. Student leaders have risen from the trauma of seeing seventeen classmates murdered and fifteen wounded. This time they say ‘thoughts and prayers’ won’t cut it. What they are demanding is new gun control legislation (universal background checks, outlawing assault weapons and high capacity magazines).
They won’t back down. They won’t go away.
I think of a prophecy in the Bible ‘ a child shall lead them’ (Isaiah 11: 6-9). Perhaps the words of the Prophet have come to fulfillment yet again. I hope and pray so.
Below is a powerful poem by Alison Luterman. This poem speaks to the hope that these young leaders have stirred within me and my generation.
A new generation is stepping forward to lead. To put a spotlight on the greed and hypocrisy of the gun merchants and their political lackeys.
It is time for my generation to follow. To encourage. To support the change that is coming. That must come.
No more Sandy Hooks. No more Parklands.
A new breed of activists is emerging. Hope is rising. Do you see them? Will you add your voice to theirs?
The New Breed– for Emma Gonzalez and the other student activists
I see her on TV, screaming into a microphone.
Her head is shaved and she is beautiful
and seventeen, and her high school was just shot up,
she’s had to walk by friends lying in their own blood,
her teacher bleeding out,
and she’s my daughter, the one I never had,
and she’s your daughter and everyone’s daughter
and she’s her own woman, in the fullness of her young fire,
calling bullshit on politicians who take money from the gun-makers.
Tears rain down her face but she doesn’t stop shouting
she doesn’t apologize she keeps calling them out,
all of them all of us
who didn’t do enough to stop this thing.
And you can see the gray faces of those who have always held power
contort, utterly baffled
to face this new breed of young woman,
not silky, not compliant,
not caring if they call her a ten or a troll.
And she cries but she doesn’t stop
yelling truth into the microphone,
though her voice is raw and shaking
and the Florida sun is molten brass.
I’m three thousand miles away, thinking how
Neruda said The blood of the children
ran through the streets
without fuss, like children’s blood.
Only now she is, they are
raising a fuss, shouting down the walls of Jericho,
and it’s not that we road-weary elders
have been given the all-clear exactly,
but our shoulders do let down a little,
we breathe from a deeper place,
we say to each other,
Well, it looks like the baton
may be passing
to these next runners and they are
fleet as thought,
fiery as stars,
and we take another breath
and say to each other, The baton
has been passed, and we set off then
running hard behind them.