‘Thoughts and prayers’ turn to tweets and shares

  There has been a shift since Feb. 14, 2018. I don’t feel safe in school. I am not the only one who questions walking into school each morning. Even with this as the case, I have hope that there will be a change within America thanks to the teen activists who are using the platform they know best: social media.

  According to CNN, HR was one of the 2,500 schools that participated in the nationwide walkout against gun violence in America. The walkout was organized by students, for students, to remember the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting last month.

  Being the tenth week in 2018, there has already been at least 14 school (including colleges) shootings this year, according to CNN. That’s about 1.5 a week. Students were urged to understand what they are walking out for, not just to skip class.

  After the news of Parkland, I realized all of the school shootings that had happened and was hyper aware of things at my school. I tried to avoid sitting near doors, leaving class when the halls are empty, and even attempting to rush out of school just so I wasn’t embedded in large crowds. This isn’t something that a 16 year old should have to worry about.  

  Samson Leyba, senior, spoke out at the walkout about his experience with gun violence. He said, “Two of my immediate family members are victims of separate school shootings. This is a problem I’ve been speaking up about for a long time, and this walkout is a way for me to join forces with my peers, and for all of our voices to be heard.”

  Wednesday night after the Parkland shooting I sat on the couch with my mom, trying to convince her to let me stay home the next day. I knew that there needed to be something that could be done about this, but I wasn’t quite sure what it would be. I had to delete Twitter for a couple of days because I could not handle seeing the number of fatalities climb. When I re-downloaded it, I became inspired by a senior from Parkland.

  In this day and age, social media can be a large factor of the impact of something on others. Emma Gonzalez, Parkland survivor and one of the faces of the Parkland activists, spoke out after the shooting. Even over a month after, she continuously tweets her support for teens across the nation who are standing up against gun violence. On the day of the walkout, she responded to many tweets from students with words of encouragement.

  Leyba was also inspired by Gonzalez. In response to the use of social media in this movement, he said, “After her speech following the Parkland shooting, Emma Gonzalez gained over a million Twitter followers overnight. It’s just a great reflection of the social climate and the national conversation and because of social media, students are keeping this issue in the conversation.”

  It is astonishing to have access to something in the palm of my hand that helps me make a change. Social media is creating a platform to amplify the voice of students like me. 

Jennah Klein, Staff Reporter

 

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Samson Leyba speaking to students who walked out about his experience with gun violence. Photo courtesy of Bella Gross

 

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