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Marjory Stoneman Douglas students can change the status quo

Comic strip of stone men authorities at a protest valley
Illustration by Makenna Timoteo | Staff Illustrator

A spotlight is shining on the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They are taking brave action after the 9th deadliest mass shooting in recent United States history. They have exhibited perseverance. Their voices have been heard despite political turmoil. They have deservedly earned the support of millions watching. And cheering them on from a distance are marginalized minority protesters.

The current outlook on minority protests is partly due to statements from President Donald Trump and biased media. It was former Fox News analyst, Bill O’Reilly, who referred to the Ferguson, Missouri protesters as a “lynch mob.” It was the President who referred to former NFL player and current activist, Colin Kaepernick, as a “son of a bitch.”

The brave students in Parkland, Fla are advocating for a curb on gun violence in schools. The Ferguson community and Colin Kaepernick protested against gun violence in their neighborhoods inflicted by the hands of police. Both are fighting for a more secure society. Therefore, both should receive the same reverence.

The students have received platforms stretching from a nationally televised CNN town hall debate to a planned march in Washington, D.C. National organizations like “Everytown for Gun Safety” have shown support for their cause. Meanwhile, the men and women of color fighting for civil rights have been met with heavy police force, criticism from the media and a condemnation from the President. It is a travesty that two courageous groups fighting for similar causes do not receive the same just treatment.

The so called, “alt-right” and Fox News have denounced minority protests. The commander-in-chief has denounced minority protests. Meanwhile, students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School met with President Trump. One student even told the President face-to-face that “there needs to be a significant change” in the country.

But significant change is not valid until minorities receive the validation by government and media for their causes. Progress will be when the hierarchy of this nation takes the initiative to unite its people. The minorities protesting throughout the corrupt infrastructure of this country are allies. The family of Trayvon Martin only wanted peace and justice for their son. But very rarely are those people referred to as “heroes.”

Whether it is gun control or police brutality, disagreements are inevitable. However, there are ways to challenge a narrative without criticizing an entire group of individuals. Age, race or ethnicity should never determine who the government chooses to support. All voices matter. Justice matters. Advancement can never occur if the leaders of this nation continue to undermine citizens’ voices.

The President and media never had to agree with Colin Kaepernick’s actions. The issue is with the lack of understanding. The issue is with the dehumanization of a man expressing his frustration.

Consolidating the power of the American people is step number one in reaching a more just society. The young men and women of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are powerful. The men and women who advocate for civil rights are powerful. Together, both can push the envelope. Together, both can change the status-quo.

– Jaden Edison is an electronic media freshman