This nation is taking a hard look at where it’s at and where it’s going. Today’s youth are part of that force behind the wheel driving change.
Organizers as young as 14 have worked with city leaders and police departments to put together peaceful protests in our community in recent weeks, decrying police brutality against black people and minority groups in part of a worldwide message: “Stop killing us.”
George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin on Memorial Day sparked the protests and fiery riots in cities across the nation. His unjust death was certainly not the first; hopefully, it will be the last.
As a community, it is reassuring to see those who are willing to support young people whose lives will be impacted by the change they’re demanding to see today and long after we’re gone. Working with mayors, councilmembers, chiefs and leaders of community groups, they’re making an impact. Policymakers and voters dictate the outcome, but as we’ve seen time and again, youth can provide awareness, activism and the firm belief that we as a society can do better.
Dive into the photographs available online for movements that shaped our history, and you’ll find many youthful faces staring into the camera as they ask for help in creating a more sustainable future.
You’ll see them in photos from August 1963, when Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I have a Dream” speech to a sea of more than 200,000 demonstrators at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. The event was credited with pressuring President John F. Kennedy to implement civil rights legislation.
The young were present to protest wars in which they didn’t believe and for which they would die. Again, in Washington DC in November 1969, somewhere between 500,000 and 600,000 people protested the Vietnam War.
In the wake of school shootings that directly impacted teens and children, young demonstrators demanded stronger gun control legislation in the March For Our Lives demonstration that saw between 1 and 2 million people in Parkland, Florida, March 2018.
Support the young activists who want to share a message of ending injustices in this country. They should be viewed as partners in this endeavor. And thank you to those who are not only listening to youth and one another, but also are using their positions of power to help implement change.