Yet another senseless tragedy. Violence in our neighborhoods, in our schools, in our workplaces, even in our families. It is easy to become disillusioned and discouraged. I know that I’ve experienced more than one dark day in the past few weeks.
But then I find hope, like those welcome rays of sunshine on that recent, remarkably spring-like day in late February. You know the one.
I find hope in the #neveragain movement, led by courageous high school students in Florida and throughout the country, many of them survivors of mass shootings and all of them justifiably fearful of falling victim to a massacre at their own schools. These students are forcing all of us to face the sickness, and consider the cost, of our American gun culture.
I find hope in the #metoo movement, led by courageous women who are speaking out and standing strong and shining a stark light on our misogynistic culture. I find hope in the #blacklivesmatter movement, led by courageous African Americans who, living in the midst of a racist culture, continue to say the names and honor the lives of those killed by police, while they bravely work to create lasting, systemic change by resisting white supremacy.
It is time for those of us who carry privilege in America (and by that I particularly mean folks like me – white, male, upper middle class) to listen, and to follow the lead of those whose lives and health are, literally, in danger every day in our society. Children. Women. Persons of color. People are rising up, and resisting oppression and violence as never before. I was so inspired last week by the seemingly endless stream of high school students (who, by the way, perfectly reflected the true diversity of this great country and literally embody its future), who were willing to stand in front of a microphone, in front of a large crowd, in front of politicians and even in front of the President, and powerfully state their experiences, and their message. “Enough. This stops now. No more killing.”
This year, 2018, will be a watershed in our history. And we are now being led, not by charismatic public figures or great orators or religious groups or labor unions or by the “greatest generation” or the “baby boomers” – but by young people, by the disaffected and disempowered, by those of all colors and creeds and cultures who have looked to the future, and have chosen to seize the moment and shape that future – for their own safety and well-being, and for that of their own children. May the rest of us help them, support them, cheer them on, fund them, rise up with them – but most of all, allow them to lead. The torch is being passed. I firmly believe it is in good hands.
May it be so!