A Houston high school student organizing the city’s gun control march is calling on adults to play a role in supporting the gun control movement that students have led nationwide following the Florida high school shooting in February.
Paige Cromley, a sophomore at The John Cooper School, published an op-ed Friday in the Houston Chronicle, in which she writes that adults “cannot understand this movement the same way we can.”
“We are the generation raised on mass shootings,” Cromley writes. “We were the ones enrolled in elementary school when a man walked into Sandy Hook and shot 20 children dead. We’re the ones crouched monthly under desks in a darkened room, hoping that it’s a drill.”
Cromley writes that young people “need to remain at the forefront” of the national movement demanding gun control and school safety, but said they need adults to support, protect and listen to students.
“Look at it this way: We are completely unrepresented in the government,” she writes. “The youngest standing member of Congress is more than twice my age. Not one member of the Senate was in high school when the Columbine shooting occurred.”
“Our government officials don’t have the perspective on this issue that we have because they haven’t grown up with it,” Cromley adds. “And yet, when we voice our thoughts, all kinds of people want to speak over us.”
In the op-ed, Cromley compares the “outrage and passion” surrounding the issue to the activism during the Vietnam War and civil rights movement, and offers suggestions to parents for how to best support their children during the march.
“Encourage your sons and daughters to get involved, even if you don’t agree with the cause,” she writes. “Give them and their friends a ride to the march this Saturday. Help them make signs for the rally, or submit art through our website. It’s scary for us kids to speak out; don’t punish yours for taking a stand.”
The Houston March for Our Lives is one of hundreds of marches planned nationwide. Survivors of the February school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida are organizing the movement. Thousands of young people are expected to call for gun control and school safety in Washington, D.C., and other cities on Saturday.