An Open Letter to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Students

Written by Jill Chapin. Posted in Law, Opinion, Politics

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Published on February 28, 2018 with 1 Comment

A demonstration was held by Teens For Gun Reform, an organization created by students in the Washington DC area, in the wake of the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Photo by Lorie Shaull.

By Jill Chapin

February 29, 2018

I was working in a middle school on 9-11. Prior to this day of infamy, I worried about kids so seemingly detached from their families, their government, their very future. Their egocentric view of themselves seemed excessive even allowing for their age to be somewhat self-centered. But who knew that an apocalypse of this proportion would force me to see not hysteria, fear, or a “why me”? mentality, but the very best in our children.

I’m seeing it again in the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. As we try to give voice to the unspeakable bloodshed occurring with sickening regularity around the country, it’s the young ones who are speaking with such eloquence. We are hearing and seeing the heretofore untapped inner strength of citizens too young to vote, but not too young to be gunned down.

It would not be hyperbole to say that just about every American has been moved by the passion and intelligence of the students at your school. We heard thoughtful and provocative words – not one of which was profane – about the sorry state of our leaders not taking substantive measures to get assault weapons off the streets. We saw unfiltered raw emotions spewing forth instead of useless offers of thoughts and prayers.

But most of all, we saw something else – hope. Hope that you kids can do for us what we could not do for you. I actually checked on the earliest age when people can run for office in Florida.

Because of you, companies are already scrambling to disassociate themselves from the NRA. Best of all, it is becoming deliciously obvious with each passing day that politicians have finally – finally – met their match. You. You, our wonderful children are the change we have been waiting for. You live in a bull-free zone and you simply do not allow meaningless words and promises to infiltrate your world.

I know you still have to finish high school. But keep us all in mind because we are counting the days when you can make your voice count at the ballot box. Make sure you register to vote because many of you will be able to before you get your diploma.

Stay with us. Stay on message. Your steely resolve is like soothing balm on an open wound. We all need to heal from this latest carnage – you even more so – but know that there are millions like me around the country who want to give you all an enormous, collective hug.

Jill Chapin

Jill Chapin

Jill Chapin has been a guest writer and columnist in several Los Angeles area papers for over fifteen years. She has written a bilingual parenting book titled, "If You Have Kids, Then Be a Parent!" and a children's book entitled, "My Magic Bubble."

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