Amarillo students are going to march … for their lives!
You go, young people. You have something important to add to a growing and significant national discussion.
On March 24, around noon, students are going to begin their “March For Our Lives” at Ellwood Park. They are far from alone. They are joining a national movement that seeks to draw attention to the scourge of gun violence. There will be marches in other communities around the nation on that day.
The catalyst occurred in Parkland, Fla., where a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He killed 17 students and staff members before he was arrested.
The shooter might be executed for his crime; or at the least he will spend the rest of his miserable life in prison.
He has ignited a serious call for change.
I heard from a Caprock High School teacher who is helping a couple of young students — Carly Prieto and Wendy Garcia — organize the march.
According to Cindy Dominguez, the students and their families “will take to the streets to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end this epidemic of mass school shootings. The collective voices of the March For Our Lives movement will be heard. That’s exactly what this movement will be about!”
Dominguez notes that “These kids are our future.”
The shooter, indeed, seems to have awakened young people in a way we haven’t yet seen. The Sandy Hook slaughter of 20 first-graders and six teachers didn’t do it. Nor did the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. The Orlando, Fla., nightclub massacre produced more silence, as did the Las Vegas music festival slaughter that killed 59 people.
This one, the Parkland tragedy, seems different in its response.
Dominguez said the march organizers have “invited all the local high schools, middle schools, heck, even the elementary schools can join us.”
The march will start at Ellwood Park and conclude at the Potter County Courthouse. Dominguez indicated that County Judge Nancy Tanner “has yet to say ‘yes'” to the use of the courthouse grounds. I trust the judge will do the right thing and grant permission for these young people to have their voices heard.
This is a big deal. Students want to read the names of the Parkland victims. They intend to recite poems they have written to honor them. And, yes, there will be plenty of rhetoric aimed at the politicians who have the power to legislate remedies to this plague when and where it’s appropriate.
I don’t hold out a huge dose of hope that U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry or U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz will respond immediately to what they hear in Amarillo or anywhere else in Texas.
But … this demonstration must take place. These voices must be heard. Their message must be heeded.