In many instances people have come to question whether or not their voices are valuable when it comes to the creation of change. Within our current political and social climates, the voice of a citizen is vital when seeking to enforce any sort of change. Similarly, the combined voices of an entire group have the ability to carry forth change, as has been seen in wake of the events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD), and, in many instances, civil disobedience plays a huge role in their success.
Over the past couple of weeks, the student body of MSD has taken to speaking in response to the tragedy that had taken place on February 14, calling for gun reform and acknowledgement from policymakers nationwide.
Civil disobedience is the best means of trying to push for change within any given society and that is something which has been realized by the students of Florida. Should they wish to see the results they have been pushing for, they will have to continue to usher in peaceful protests, including walkouts, marches and speeches provided by the affected students.
“These peaceful protests perpetuate a sort of civil disobedience which is both necessary and proper,” said junior Sarah Seng. “And as the flags get pulled back up to full mast and the news channels go back to reporting the Olympics, this civil disobedience will ensue, because these students demand to be heard.”
By participating in walkouts and other peaceful protests, students across South Florida have also taken a stand. At CCHS, a walkout was hosted in order to show support for MSD as they fight for legislation that may prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future. The walkouts certainly get the attention of politicians and legislators across the nation and demand some sort of acknowledgment and answer to the grievances of the students.. They are an act of solidarity that serve to both show support for MSD and call for the attention of the nation.
The walkouts certainly get the attention of politicians and legislators across the nation and demand some sort of acknowledgment and answer to the grievances of the students.
“The walkouts and peaceful protests are not memorials,” Seng said. “They are not vigils. They are protests, and that is where people tend to get offended.”
There comes a time where the people of a nation must take action against their government in order to encourage a more progressive stance in any given time period, looking toward the future rather than the past. Many modern-day riots resolve nothing in the sense that they seek to instigate violence which cannot be afforded; however, peaceful protests allow individuals to most efficiently take a stand for their rights.
“I think the protests give our student body an opportunity to participate in a movement that will go down in history books,” said English teacher Angela Lawrence. “I see the protests as positive. Students are passionately using their academic skills to enact social change. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Peaceful protests and civil disobedience have been proven effective, historically resulting in movements of massive proportions that are capable of transforming the nation itself. In the case of the Civil Rights movement or the fight for women’s suffrage, there have always been peaceful protests that have called for action. Whether it be casting a vote without the right to do so or refusing to move from a seat on a bus, civil disobedience has been used a means to fight unjust laws while still conveying the idea that just laws should be upheld.
Whether it be casting a vote without the right to do so or refusing to move from a seat on a bus, civil disobedience has been used a means to fight unjust laws while still conveying the idea that just laws should be upheld.
“For the most part, I believe that [these protests do] perpetuate peaceful sentiments,” said junior David Lee. “I think the public emphasis on peaceful protests prevents most from breaking out into violence…[despite] pushing [an] agenda.”
In light of the MSD shooting, students have acquired unprecedented power simply by rallying. Civil disobedience has given these students the power to object to their current state of being in a manner which is productive and just.
Ideological movements are often not won by rioting or instigating the enemy, but are rather fought with the power of words, unified action and the rally cry of a heartbroken nation.
Photo by Kendyl Counts