There is something happening. Now. It is sad and it is uplifting at the same time. Probably all of you know about the tragic shooting of students in Parkland, Florida on February 14th. Maybe you are even sick of hearing about it. I have been following what has happened afterward fairly closely. A few days after the event I was explaining to my husband an interview I had seen where a father spoke of the loss of his son. Among other things, the father said he was ‘pissed’. I’m sure. My voice cracked and I began to cry, having to pause to be able to finish the story. Imagine losing your child to such senseless violence.
In their abject grief and shock, the students of Margory Stoneman Douglas High School, wasted no time. While grieving their best friends and classmates, their anger cut through the BS that has surrounded this issue for decades. Because they are young, a large portion of their journey has played out on social media. It is one of the times when I have been glad to have some connections on Twitter and Instagram. It has been so impressive to see how these young people handle themselves. There has been very little ego, hubris, double talk or any of the things adults are given to using. They just tell it like they have experienced it. This has happened to THEM. To their friends. They are the targets.
It is humbling. It is powerful. And totally frightening.
Things do not ever stay the same. Change happens whether or not we are ready for it or invite it. The United States is the country of my birth. It is where I lived the first 30 years of my life. I still carry an American passport as well as an Australian one. But most importantly, I am still a member of the human race. I’m a human who values life. I’m a human who doesn’t want to see senseless tragedy.
We should all care about violent death from terrorism, war and oppression in every country. But it is nearly overwhelming, and hard to know what to do. In this instance I have seen enough to recognise a genuine movement and one to which I can contribute a small amount. My small amount has been to follow the students, trying to understand and support their journey with comments and sharing. And this blog post. This week I also downloaded a song from iTunes, part of the proceeds from which will go to support the students who have organised Marches in all 50 states of the United States. The song is a ‘mashup’ (combination) of two songs from two major Musicals, ‘Hamilton’ and ‘Dear Evan Hansen’. The songs are titled ‘The Story of Tonight’ and ‘You Will Be Found’. The creative genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote ‘Hamilton’, has penned this anthem called ‘Found Tonight’. Miranda and Ben Platt, winner of a Golden Globe for ‘Dear Even Hansen’, sing it and I have included it here for you to… contemplate.
Saturday, 24 March is the March for Our Lives day. I hope it is a peaceful but powerful day. In his Golden Globe acceptance speech Ben Platt said:
‘Don’t try to be anyone but yourself, the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful’.
Let’s all find our strange and powerful selves, and strive to make a difference. Lots of little tiny powerful moments together can cause a big thing to happen. The students are showing us the way.