Students Take the Lead Where Adults Have Failed

by Amy Meuers, NYLC CEO

The horrific events of last week in Parkland, Florida have inspired young people across the nation to stand up and take action on gun violence in their schools. On President’s Day, young people lay like corpses outside the White House to demonstrate how quickly a shooter can take a life and thousands more plan to walk out on March 24 for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. across every time zone to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.

Young people across our nation are standing together to address an issue that adults have swept under the rug for years — gun control. They have found their voice, their passion, and are taking action and we adults – educators, parents, administrators, politicians – must come together to not only listen, but to act. According to Everytown, so far in 2018 there have been seven firearm attacks in schools across America and there have been 18 school shootings – discharge of a firearm during school hours. No matter how you cut the numbers, our schools are not safe.

The National Youth Leadership Council was founded on the mission to create a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world with young people, their schools, and their communities through service-learning. We believe in the power of young people and support them in taking action on issues that affect them and the world. We recognize youth as partners in decision-making. When given the opportunity to lead, youth understand their rights and obligation to act in the benefit of the public good. From young people who are affected by issues, to adult allies who work with them, we actively build shared leadership that creates space for each person to take ownership and affect change.

We stand with the students of Parkland and those across the nation who have decided enough is enough. Our students deserve a safe place to learn, grow, and lead. The time to act is now.

(photo by Lori Shaull, The demonstration was organized by Teens For Gun Reform, an organization created by students in the Washington D.C. area, in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.