No matter your political views on firearms, you have to acknowledge the passion Cambridge High School students have shown in talking about gun violence.
It began in the spring of 2018, with a large walk-out and emotional gathering in the CHS parking lot, after 17 people died in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
That same spring, Madeline Meyers, then an eighth-grader at Nikolay Middle School, was featured in USA Today on her views on school violence. Meyers was additionally invited to share those thoughts in a video produced by USA Today.
Then, this fall, Cambridge High School students Ada Gent and Sophia Seamon joined Scott Marrese-Wheeler, the pastor at Oakland-Cambridge Presbyterian Church and a teacher at McFarland High School, at a state Capitol rally in which lawmakers were urged to take action on gun legislation.
Gent and Seamon have since founded a Cambridge High School chapter of March for Our Lives, an anti-gun-violence group.
This past weekend, the Cambridge March for Our Lives chapter organized its first significant event, a candlelight vigil marking the seventh anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Twenty-eight people died in that shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut.
What to do about gun violence is, of course, a national debate. We acknowledge the need to balance safety with the constitutional right of responsible citizens to bear arms for purposes of their choice, from self-defense to hunting to sport target shooting.
We need all voices to be heard.
Student speakers at the Dec. 15 vigil spoke eloquently and knowledgeably about how they have been affected by news reports, as well as by lockdown drills in their buildings. They spoke of a desire for younger siblings to feel safe at school.
Will what these Cambridge teens say make a difference? Yes, we predict.
History has shown that the voices and actions of young people can affect change. Young adults have swung elections, helped topple dictators and helped end wars.
Worldwide this year, young people from Hong Kong to Egypt have taken to the streets, speaking out against what they see as injustices.
When surveys in the U.S. show that teens increasingly fear a shooting at their school, the time for change is immediate.
Our message to March for Our Lives organizers in Cambridge: keep talking.
Adults hear you, though it may seem they are slow in responding.
The safety measures being installed at school buildings is the start of the adult response. Now, adults need to address the underlying societal issues that are leading to shootings, and find a solution that balances safety and gun rights, that’s broadly acceptable to different segments of society.
Keep talking, students. Keep sharing your passion for the subject of gun violence – as well as your passion for other subjects like global warming — and we expect you will soon see the societal change you’re hoping for.