Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
PHOTO COURTESY OF LINDA ZAKThousands attend the March for Our Lives event along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., March 24. Copyright - Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. PHOTO COURTESY OF LINDA ZAKThousands attend the March for Our Lives event along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., March 24. Copyright - Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Monday, March 26, 2018 by Deb Galbraith in Opinion

Marching for our lives

Since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Fla., a phenomenon many of us have never seen before is occurring before our eyes.

Students have become empowered and have successfully rallied peers, parents and grandparents to help find a solution to school shootings.

Just a month later, on March 14, students across the nation showed their solidarity with Parkland, Fla., students by rallying at their schools for 17 minutes to honor the 17 killed in the school shooting and to ask for a solution to this senseless violence. Rallies were held both inside and outside the schools with student speakers and administrators talking about school safety. Some students were supported by their school administrators – others, such as more than 200 Pennridge HS students, served Saturday detention for defying school orders to stay inside the school during the rally.

Knowing there would be a consequence to their actions, the students still walked outside – peacefully – to honor the 17 victims.

These students are passionate, as evidenced by the thousands of marchers in Washington, D.C. March 24. Other rallies were held in other cities and locally in Allentown and Easton.

What has impressed me most about all of these rallies is how well spoken these students are, as they ask for solutions to this very serious problem in our nation.

Emma González, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS, stood in silence to honor the 17 victims. She has offered many heart-wrenching speeches since the school shooting.

Parkland, Fla., student Cameron Kasky said, “Welcome to the revolution.”

His powerful speech included statements such as, “Politicians, either represent the people or get out.

“My generation – having spent our entire lives seeing mass shooting after mass shooting – has learned that our voices are powerful and our votes matter. We must educate ourselves and start conversations that keep our country moving forward, and we will. We hereby promise to fix the broken system we’ve been forced into and create a better world for the generations to come. Don’t worry, we’ve got this,” Kasky said.

As I see it, my generation is unable to fix this problem. None of us has been a student in a school where someone came in and began shooting to kill.

This generation of students has seen too much.

I remember years ago being in a school when there was a lockdown situation. The students, thinking it was a drill, calmly walked around the room doing what they needed to do. I honestly was concerned because I had never been involved in anything like that before.

I cannot imagine what these students who have experienced school shootings are feeling. I can imagine they are reliving the sounds of gunshots and feelings of helplessness.

When we look to the current lawmakers to fix this problem, nothing gets done.

Blue Mountain School District, Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County, has a solution to these school shootings.

“If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance to any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full of students armed with rocks,” Superintendent David Helsel said in an interview with ABC March 24. “And they will be stoned.”

Following the March for Our Lives protests, CNN contributor and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had this to say on a news program March 25 in response to the students: “How about kids, instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that — when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that,” he said.

Sure, a bucket of stones and CPR classes will fix all that is wrong in this world.

I’m so proud of these students who are speaking so eloquently and passionately about stopping the violence. They are looking for help, looking for answers, and many are ready to vote.

I’m proud of the parents, grandparents and numerous adults holding signs supporting the students, sensing this is the generation who can actually make a change.

For the first time in a long time, I am beginning to see hope.–