At the March For Our Lives rally in Parkland, Florida, yesterday, we heard from the kids who are leading us out of this mess.
I had never heard of Parkland until seventeen people were murdered at their high school last month. It's an affluent, Coral Gables-like community fifty miles north of us. It rose up out of what was a swamp (what place in South Florida didn't?) thirty years ago. I was glad to be in Parkland yesterday but I will probably never return to this bucolic piece of suburbia on the edge of the Everglades.
We went there to honor the students, and their families, who went through Hell on Valentines Day. At the rally they stood near a podium where some of the surviving students spoke. Several parents of the murdered children addressed the crowd as well. Alec Schacter's dad reminded us of how much his beautiful boy had loved his family, friends, and playing trombone in the MSD band. His sister later took the podium to say, "Today I'm marching for my little brother".
There were a few politicians in the crowd. They were there to listen. The Grove Guy with his friend, Emma Collum. The talented Women's March leader is running for our state's House of Representatives.
Fifteen thousand of us listened to MSD students describe the safe world they want to live in. As the rally ended the Stoneman Douglas students filed out proudly holding signs they had made to lead the march. It felt good to cheer them on. It was hard to imagine the horror they had witnessed 39 days earlier.
The procession took us a mile south, to the memorial-laced MSD high school, and back.
We were protected by dozens of Broward county police officers and a good number of Guardian Angels.
Students led the way with constant chants, "Hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go!" and "You're in Congress you know how, Ban assault weapons now!".
It was a
happy crowd despite the grim circumstances that had brought us together. We were glad to be supporting the thousands of kids surrounding us. Many were wearing their burgundy and gold MSD STRONG t-shirts.
When we got back to Coconut Grove eight hours after we left, we proudly watched the 800,000 that had rallied in our nation's capital, on TV. Of course, this mega-protest was organized by MSD students. Two hundred of them were there while we kept the home fires burning for change.
All of their speakers were teenagers except for the amazing Naomi Wadler.
These kids give us hope, a determined voice we adults have been unable to muster.
Perhaps what the Book of Isaiah says is true, "...And a little child shall lead them".