February 2018: news of a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, jolted Americans across the nation. Within a month, students across the country organized a national walkout, one that many Lynbrook students proudly and enthusiastically participated in. However, a little more than a year after the walkout, the widespread passion to create social change, sparked by the Parkland shooting, has died down. While the fading presence of the shooting is understandable, we must continue to fight for reform. Without active voices demanding change, the future, unfortunately, holds the potential for more tragedies.
Last year, immediately following the Parkland shooting, I saw my peers shaken. I saw them take action by making memorial posters, walking out of class in protest and speaking before the student body, teachers and even local politicians. Standing in the crowd during last year’s walkout, I felt an energy of activism buzzing through the air. That day, I felt proud of myself and my fellow classmates for raising our voices for a cause we believed in.
However, as time passed, this energy seemed to fade away. While I maintained my interest in social justice by keeping up with legislators and other students fighting for change on social media, I could see decreasing interest in many of my peers. With no other violent incident being publicized to the same scale, nor any other large-scale movement, there was little to stimulate the fight for reform.
While the walkout was set to take place at Lynbrook once again this year, fewer students were aware that it was happening. Flyers were distributed, Facebook profile pictures changed; yet, only a handful expressed interest in attending a walkout, unlike like the year before. Instead of letting this deter me from raising awareness about the issue of lacking gun control, I decided to attend the Rally for Change hosted by March For Our Lives San Jose, but I saw the trend of decreasing participation there as well.
Such growing indifference is not uncommon and is sadly a response that tends to occur a while after large-scale tragedies like mass shootings. It’s a feeling I’ve personally experienced; the event slowly fades into the back of your mind as a thing of the past. Nevertheless, it is a reaction that can be actively combatted, simply by making a conscious effort to sustain conversation regarding large issues such as gun control and public safety measures. If such topics are kept relevant and in the limelight, action on the part of a substantial number of people will follow.
No matter how much time passes after events like the Parkland shooting, it is our responsibility to stand up for our rights and beliefs. We should make an attempt to continue to stay involved in movements, such as the March For Our Lives, that can have a great impact on government policies and our lives. By making our voices heard, we will help shape our futures to be safer and better.