In only a week, the nation has seen dramatic responses to the horrific shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. There is sadness for lives lost, and compassion for families forever changed. And there is pride, as the young survivors of this tragedy channel their pain into passion and political action.
Some of the survivors have launched the #NeverAgain movement. Across the nation, they have inspired others to exercise their agency to make a change in their society and country. The actions of these high school students demonstrate the true power of engagement in a democracy.
JSA students, teachers, and alumni encompass an enormous range of perspectives on Second Amendment, public safety, and education issues, and we all acknowledge the power of responsible debate and thoughtful activism. In the wake of Parkland, JSA students are adding their voice to the discussion through civil discussions, contacting elected officials, and peaceful walkouts. For example, JSA Lieutenant Governor for the Southeast Nana Kusi helped organize a peaceful protest of fellow students at Land O'Lakes High School in Tampa, FL.
No matter your take on these issues, there is something energizing about thousands of teenagers raising their voices and engaging with their legislators and the media. Many of these young people are not yet old enough to vote, but they are reminding the country that they should be heard, and will be heard.
As the nation’s largest student-run organization, the Junior State of America applauds this engagement. JSA was founded more than 80 years ago on the belief that young people can make a difference and that their voice matters, and our 10,000 student members and 400,000 alumni put these values into action. These young people demonstrate the power of collective voices, and that in a democracy, ‘we the people’ can effect change.