The Young People Will Win


Senior, Sydney Cooper standing with March For Our Lives co-founder, David Hogg.

As many students at Highlands High School know, I was one of the main organizers of the Walkout against school gun violence last year- one of the hundreds that were held across the country. On President’s Day, I was fortunate enough to attend the third part in the Miami University lecture series with guests David Hogg and Alex Wind, two survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and co-founders of March For Our Lives- the march that started the movement.

David Hogg and Alex Wind speaking at Miami University.

It is commonly known that these two boys have become icons for the anti-gun violence movement. Since the inception of March For Our Lives in February of 2018, the group has marched on Washington, wrote A Glimmer of Hope, changed legislation in numerous states, and, most importantly, caused a tidal wave of young people to use their voices to speak out against the injustices that are put against them by their governments (including the encouragement of local and state March For Our Lives chapters).

These two boys are my age, started one of the biggest movements in America, spoke out against NRA backed legislators, and got gun violence legislation (HR8) to be taken to the House of Representatives, something that hasn’t happened in over 25 years.

The main reason that many of these legislative actions were taken was because of the shooting in Parkland, Florida. When the group of students, including Hogg and Wind, decided to speak out on social media, thousands of young people around the world followed in their plea for justice.

March For Our Lives March on Washington, 2018. Courtesy of ABC News.

This led to one of the biggest marches in Washington, DC on March 24, 2018, with over 800,000 protestors demonstrating – more than the number of people who attended President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

This isn’t as uncommon of a story as many may think. Young people have always been leading the charge in creating change in the United States.

The Civil Rights Movement, The Vietnam War protests, Tiananmen Square, and the University Uprisings in the 1960s all fell under majority youth involvement. Even our founding fathers were in their 20s when they decided revolution was necessary for the United States to prosper.

Time and time again, young people have proven that they are the ones that lead the movement when it comes to fighting injustice.

Even though it is a common myth that millennials are “lazy,” and “entitled,” according to Pew Research, millennials reported casting 34 million votes in 2016, nearly double the number they cast in 2008. The era of complacency is over. The young people are not going to stand idly by and watch as older generations make irreversible changes that they won’t even be around to see the effects of- such as with climate change, taxation, and gun regulation.

Hogg and Wind reiterated the importance of youth in politics during their lecture, both stating that at some point they will consider running for office themselves.

In fact, more young people are running for office at the local and national level already. In November, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman to be sworn into the House of Representatives and has already advocated for more change than the majority of her senior members have done in years with the Green New Deal and her proposed tax increase on the wealthy of up to 70%.

Jacob Martinez from Mesa, Arizona, candidate for City Council. Courtesy of AZCentral.

17-year-old Jacob Martinez from Mesa, Arizona is running for City Council to fight against gun violence in his community. Jacob is very close in the polls to older candidates which could possibly make him the youngest member in history to be on the Council.

Sam Shelton during his campaign for City Council. Courtesy of Fort Thomas Matters.

In fact, even in our own community Sam Shelton, a sophomore at Northern Kentucky University has run for City Council for the past 2 years in Fort Thomas. Even though he hasn’t won, his persistence and dedication to politics is something to admire.

Elected officials are supposed to represent the will of the people. When they do not, it is important that their constituents use their collective power to vote them out of office and find better leaders to represent the nation. Whether you agree with the sentiments of the March For Our Lives movement or not, Hogg and Wind give great insight into the importance of political activism and not being pushed around because of your age. In the upcoming years, I truly believe that young people will be the change that the United States needs to see in the political arena.