For 17 minutes on March 14 supposedly upwards of 185,000 students will walk out of their schools to honor those students killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A minute for each victim.
It is also a protest against congress for not doing enough to stem gun violence in the schools. The protest is organized by the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER. A moment of silence is a nice tribute. A protest, to me, is disingenuous and an opportunistic stunt.
Especially given the fact the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is led by Tamika Mallory, the same person who is affiliated with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. He has recently been in the news for his anti-Semitic hate speech. Do students really want to be associated with that type of bigotry?
So what we have here is a protest against gun violence led by an organization that associates with prejudice. Something does not seem right.
I went to a Catholic high school and one day the teacher, a priest, walked into the classroom and started dropping F bombs. His profanity laced tirade would have made a truck driver blush. He stopped in mid curse word and simply said “That’s what it sounds like to me as I listen to you (the students) talk to each other in the hallways. How about a little respect for one another?”
That was 37 years ago and it still sticks with me. I’m happy students across America want to honor their fallen brethren from Marjory Stoneman Douglas. I would prefer, however, that it be less of a political stunt driven by a militant group. If the gesture is to honor children killed by a lunatic then why bring politics into the mix?
Leaving a school for 17 minutes is a nice symbolic gesture but it will mean nothing without concrete action thereafter. It’s like having a bake sale to help raise money for World Hunger. A nice idea but ultimately inconsequential.
If the majority of the students walking out really wanted to make a difference I have a suggestion.
Rather than walkout of classes, the students should agree to go an entire month without picking on that student who sits alone, is considered weird by fellow classmates, or is viewed as an outcast.
Even better, why not agree to never bully a fellow student. If people want to make a difference, how about starting with showing each other a little respect. We cannot change the behavior of others but we can change our behavior. Let’s start with that.
Obviously, changing our behavior towards one another will not stop gun violence. But it is a better action to take than making a symbolic gesture. And a far better action than being used as a pawn by an organization more concerned about advancing its agenda than the actual cause.
If the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER actually cared about the students that were killed, the walkout would simply be a moment of silence to honor a life terminated far too soon.
It’s about respect and, unfortunately, a group that pretends to want respect for women is being anything but respectful towards people.