#MarchForOurLives: Parkland Teens Say There’s No Going Back To “Normal”

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03.22.18

This Saturday is March For Our lives, a mass protest through Washington DC with hundreds of sister events around the world. Organized by teen survivors of the February 14th massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the marches are calling attention to gun violence and young people’s fear of school shootings. 

Ariana Ortega, Gabe Glassman, and Alex Wind are current students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Here are their reflections on how life in Parkland has changed and what it means to be activists at this moment.


ARIANA ORTEGA:

I can’t say I’m not changed permanently because I am. I used to be the kind of person who would say, ‘No I can’t go out. I’m sorry I have a test tomorrow.’ But now I want to spend time with my friends, with my family before you might not have them next to you the next day. We love to be activists, but we also need to live as the teenagers that we are, which I think in a way is good for us. We need that sense of normalcy back in our lives.

 

GABE GLASSMAN:
Sometimes I will go to the memorial. Sometimes I will sit in my room and watch YouTube or Netflix.

 

 

ALEX WIND:
Some people are still closeted and grieving and which is perfectly okay. But we just wanted to make our voice heard and we were prepared, we were fine with being out there and in the open. We were ready.

 

GABE GLASSMAN:
No one is ever going to forget about what happened.

 

 

ALEX WIND:
Normalcy doesn’t really exist anymore.

 

 

GABE GLASSMAN:
But even though the spotlight will not be on Parkland and MSD anymore, we will create another spotlight and we will take the uproar [to other places].

 

 

ALEX WIND:
If someone thinks mental health is the issue, then we need to do something about it. If someone thinks guns are the issue, then we need to do something about it. This isn’t about Democrats and Republicans. This is about children dying. No children should ever be afraid of getting shot in school.

 

ARIANA ORTEGA:
There have been many people asking, ‘how do we help?’ To every one of you asking how you can support the movement: if you can…when you can…VOTE.

 


Mapping The #Neveragain Movement

A student-led movement demands student-led coverage. To track the #neveragain movement through students’ eyes, Youth Radio’s team of young coders created this interactive map, highlighting teen activism from around the country via social posts.

Check it out here.


Photo of Ariana courtesy of Ariana Ortega; Photo of Gabe Glassman by Jeff Vespa; Photo of Alex Wind via Twitter; Cover image by Karoline Barklay. Map The Movement Design by Desmond Meagley. Audio editing and design by Davey Kim.

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