Teens Have And Will Influence Change

Lindie Bell, Feature Editor

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We are an influential, but an easily influenced generation. With the tools we have been given, an idea, movement, and opinion is spread like wildfire across the country and world. Communication from miles and miles apart takes place in only seconds. Because of our hard working parents and grandparents, we have been given radio, television and telephones, those gave way to cell phones, then smartphones, internet and apps and robots. Sometimes we use those tools to post relatable memes, or binge watch a series, and sometimes we use those tools to encourage, reform, uplift and ask for change.

These tools inform us, but far too often they inform us of something tragic. Our generation has grown up in the era of shootings. Sadly, it has become the norm for us to see news alert notifying us of the most recent killing spree. After each tragedy, a movement is formed. It then seems to fizzle, and then another tragedy occurs and the process continues. But the shooting that took place at Douglas Stoneman High School, in Florida on February 14th seems like the last and final straw for disappointed and terrified teenagers around the country. A combination between heartache for the victims and schools, and our own personal fear and thoughts that creep into our mind saying “will this happen to me?”

With every privilege comes a responsibility. We have learned that since the minute our parents told us that we could have a pet as long as we fed it every day, cleaned its cage or took it on walks. I believe that part of us have forgotten the responsibility part to our privilege. Our privilege being our own personal platform at any given time of the day, our responsibility is how well we use it. Coming from a girl who posts her “which office character am I?” quiz results on her Instagram story, I don’t have much room to talk. I am not changing lives or starting movements on my own personal platform, so this advice is just as much for me as it is for you.

In 1957, The Little Rock Nine took courageous actions to test the validity of the then recent court hearing Brown vs. Board of Education. Enrolling for classes at a formerly all-white school entailed dealing with the Arkansas National Guard.

The Greensboro four are well known for their use of non-violent protest, and in 1960 they took their seat at the counter and remained there after being denied service and asked to leave multiple times. The students sat silently and bravely. They would be back, and tensions grew. They sat through violence, threats, and food being thrown in their face.

On May 2nd, 1963, thousands of black students skipped school to march towards downtown. They walked to speak to the Mayor of Birmingham, Albert Boutwell about the evils of segregation. The next day the children marched again, this time met with fire hoses, clubs and police dogs.

These teenagers are just like us. They saw tragedy, loss, evil and crime. They wanted to make a change. They did not have their own individual platform with hundreds of followers waiting to hear what they had to say. They had to create it, they had to march, fight, sit quietly, meet and rally. We hashtag, comment, like and fav to show our support. Our generation could not be more different than the past, but we still have the desire to change. Let us use our platforms for rightful purposes, because us teens have more power than ever.

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