MFOL: A tiny step toward progress


On top of the Newseum, spectators could see up and down Pennsylvania Avenue as hundreds of thousands gathered for the March for Our Lives. Photo by Nyah Mattison.

Piper Hansen

Since walking down Pennsylvania Avenue and covering the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. a year ago today, I have realized that no one outside of my generation will ever understand the devastating pain of being constantly reminded that the leaders of our nation can’t, or won’t, protect us.

Photo by Nyah Mattison.

The March for Our Lives was an incredible moment and there’s no doubt about it. It brought together students and activists of all backgrounds to rally for change. The event and social media support catered to a youth dominated audience and made more adults realize that the #NeverAgain campaign is a movement, not a moment.

The march was an emotional experience for me. I never thought that I would be so close to people who had survived horrific events but were still standing tall. We held hands when Emma Gonzalez stood silently for the six minutes when 17 of her friends were killed. I remember leaning on my friends that sunny day knowing that we’d be there for each other if anything ever happened.

As much as I want to say the march is what we needed in today’s world of mass shooting and corrupt politics, it hasn’t offered up the action and policy change our nation needs. It was the very first step in the long journey young people will have to lead to have our voices and our lives protected.

When 50 people were shot and killed in New Zealand earlier this month, their politicians announced one day later that they would be taking action. When I heard that news, I smiled. I knew that it was a step in the right direction and could be an example for American politicians. But then my stomach tightened and my heart sank knowing that roughly double that number of students died in a school building in 2018 and still, three months into 2019, nothing substantial has been done to fix a problem teenagers know too well.

Whether it’s their ties to money from the National Rifle Association or the Republican domination in the Senate, politicians have never done enough for the people they represent.

In school, we learn that there are three branches of government and each is run by people who work for us. But politics has become about power, not about democracy or running a nation for the people by the people.

This week, among reports from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and continued investigations into a college admissions scandal, the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are mourning the loss of two students who committed suicide. Every day, whether I’m spending it at school or out with my friends, it seems like everywhere I turn is another sign that since the March for Our Lives, gun regulations and student safety are staying stagnant and it will take an army to get any progressive change done.