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Parkland Students Weigh In On What Their Futures Hold After #MarchForOurLives
4 weeks ago

The #MarchForOurLives was only this past Saturday. A stirring display of people whose lives had been forever changed by gun violence took to the podium to ask for gun control legislation. The whole thing was organized by the students and survivors of the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. However, there were speakers from other mass shooting events such as Newtown, and Columbine, as well as speakers shedding light on gun violence in our cities. Brilliantly, the largely affluent and white student body of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas made sure to make this event truly intersectional. The other thing that they have done brilliantly is seize the message.

After every mass shooting, there's the chorus of voices that says 'it's not the time to discuss this, let the survivors grieve.' However, this time, the survivors themselves stood up and said, 'yes, it is the time to discuss this.' Of course, parents and family members stood up after Newtown, and parents and family members have stood up to talk about the violence in our cities, but this is the first time in recent memory that we have heard the survivors of a mass shooting speak so eloquently and unitedly for themselves. We've all been taken by these student's passion, energy, social media savvy, and courage to turn their heartache and mourning into action. It should not be lost on anyone that while organizing for this march, as well as messaging and media strategy, they were also mourning the loss of seventeen of their classmates.

Well once again, the students are speaking on their on terms. On Wednesday, an article by Kalhan Rosenblatt for NBC News detailed what was next for this incredibly brave group of people, and how they saw their futures playing out.

In talking with Julia Cordover, the senior class President, the article states...

 "'It’s definitely been a different new normal,' Cordover said. 'It takes a piece of our heart and it’s not the same.'"

They went on...

"'My friends and I are trying to enjoy our life' said Cordover, 'because now we know how important it is to cherish every moment.'"

Meanwhile, when speaking with David Hogg...

"David Hogg, 17, a leader of Parkland’s #NeverAgain movement, hasn’t slowed down in the six weeks since the shooting. Between the constant travel for interviews and planning for marches and rallies, it hasn't been easy for him to balance national activism with the ordinary demands of high school life.
"'I’m not really balancing it right now because it’s simply just — well, it’s spring break right now, but I wasn’t balancing everything very well running up to march, but I’m working on it,' Hogg said this week.
Hogg is among the Stoneman Douglas seniors who have decided to postpone college in favor of activism.
'I was going to college to change the world,' said Hogg, who plans to work on the 2018 midterm elections. 'I’m doing that now.'"

Teacher, Lauren Rosa, told NBC News...

"'I feel like I’m not really a teacher anymore, or that’s not my sole responsibility ... I’m trying to be a lot of students’ counselor…. It’s kind of an emotional struggle to keep it together for them.'"

And Raquel Alvarado spoke of how she wanted to carry #MarchForOurLives' message forward, even though she was reticent at first...

"Raquel Alvarado, 14, didn’t initially join in the student anti-guns movement after the shooting. She was mourning her close friend, neighbor and fellow soccer team captain, Alyssa Alhadeff, who was among the 17 killed on Valentine’s Day.
'I was totally proud of people who were doing [the activism], but I wanted to hear as little about situation as possible,' Alvarado said of the first few days after the shooting.
But Alvarado soon decided she wanted to join the student activists, and she participated in March for Our Lives. She is also part of an organization started by Alhadeff’s mother, Lori, called Make Schools Safe."

Many gave their words of support...

There were those inspired by Emma Gonzalez's six minutes and twenty seconds of silence...

Others were stirred by David Hogg's firebrand words...

Lifted by the heartfelt sentiment of Cameron Kasky...

And deeply moved by Samantha Fuentes, who was shot herself, and lost one of her closest friends...

Keep rising. Keep speaking out. You have our gratitude for using your grief for the national good.

H/T:  NBC News, Twitter