Hundreds of students stand in the CCHS bleachers, wielding hand-painted signs and the inextinguishable anger of a generation suffering at the hands of injustice. A chant rises from the stands and shakes the field.
“Enough is enough.”
At the walkout on Wednesday, February 21, Cowboys had the opportunity to voice their thoughts on the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. In a society riddled with controversy and disagreement, the demonstration was a way for students to express their views that are so often dismissed as peripheral.
Though many students may feel that their opinions are treated as secondary to those of adults, society is evolving. More power is in the hands of the younger generation and politicians, celebrities and world leaders are being forced to listen. Despite what society may believe, any high schooler can make their voice known.
More power is in the hands of the younger generation and politicians, celebrities and world leaders are being forced to listen.
The simplest and sometimes most effective route is for a student to inform their peers about the cause. In a world constantly connected through the internet and social media, just making one’s message known can spur a movement.
Social media campaigns and hashtags, such as on Twitter and Instagram, can rapidly gain popularity if executed correctly. But sensitivity to online audiences and current issues is crucial for students to effectively raise awareness for a cause while avoiding miscommunication.
In the absence of facial expressions and body language, online messages can quickly become misconstrued and subject to unwarranted criticism. To prevent this, students should go over their messages with others before uploading to ensure the intended meaning remains clear across the barriers of text and screens.
Discussing an issue with club leaders can also accelerate plans for action. CCHS clubs that support involvement in the community include Key Club and National Honor Society (NHS). Previous projects of the NHS chapter include raising money for Puerto Ricans impacted by Hurricane Irma and promoting awareness for breast cancer. When proposing an event or fundraiser to any organization or club, one should educate club leaders of the issue at hand, its impact on the student body and potential solutions.
When proposing an event or fundraiser to any organization or club, one should educate club leaders of the issue at hand, its impact on the student body and potential solutions.
Though statistics can be awfully compelling for a student already invested in an issue, numbers can seem innocuous to those with no ties to the subject. For students to feel passionate about an issue, an emotional connection is necessary. By relating a topic back to the student population, others will be more keen to learn about the topic, teach others and participate in a fight for change.
But if one feels that action must extend past a single event, there is always the option of starting a new club. Junior Isaac Chiu plans to create a school club for peaceful and respectful activism by CCHS students.
“Seeing Sabrine Brismeur organize the rally against gun violence made me realize that as students we do have voices,” Chiu said. “Through these voices coming together in unison, demanding change, we can transform our passions into true change.”
In a world where communication is instantaneous, the potential for change is unlimited. Yet the power to make a difference lies in the strength of a voice. By creating a plan for action and sticking to it, students have the chance to make their battle cries momentous and deafening.
Note: Sabrine Brismeur is a member of The Lariat staff.
Photo by Sarah Khan