I am 16 years old, a high school junior, a member of a generation that has become habituated to seeing mass shootings on the news: Columbine, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook. We have not known a time before lockdown drills and threats of violence.
We should be able to receive an education without having to take time to practice what would happen if a shooter entered the classroom.
We plan to continue our work and make sure that some of the attention and momentum that the march has, is directly channeled back into our community which is so plagued by gun violence.
I am silenced by the words, “You kids don’t know what you’re talking about; you’re too young to understand why these policies will never be changed.” I hate to break it to you, but I’ve lived my whole life in the era of mass shootings.
According to Membership of the 114th Congress: A Profile, the average age of members of the House is 57.0 years, and for Senators, it’s 61.0 years.
I have a question for members of the House and our Senators: How many school shootings has the average member of your generation been a survivor of?
There is a shadow haunting this country. Gun violence has loomed over us, manifesting on every city block and in the corner of every classroom. Day after day, we students live in a constant state of fear. Knowing that at any point in time, our lives could be ended.
All around this country, students live in fear—but Congress does not. And time and time again, after every school shooting, the American people are unequivocally and categorically failed by a Congress that ought to protect us.
We are the ones who shoulder the brunt of Congress’ failures. And we’ve had enough. We are sick and tired of watching our friends die while Congress sits on its hands and offers nothing but thoughts and prayers. That’s not good enough.
We will not allow the children of Parkland to die for nothing. We will not stand idly by while Congress does nothing but wait for their next order from the NRA. Congress does not represent the NRA. Congress represents us. And if Congress continues to deny students like us all around the country the safety that we deserve, we will not stand idly by. We will mobilize. We will march. We will speak.
And if Congress chooses not to listen, we will force it to. If this Congress do not guarantee us the safety we deserve, we will elect one that will. We will win this fight.
So at the end of the day, senators, congressmen, ask yourselves: How do you want to be remembered? Because history will not favor those of you who remain complicit in the murder of our nation’s children.
But history will remember us. History will remember this. History will remember the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who stood up and said enough is enough—it has gone too far. We will win this fight, one way or another. My question for you, Congress, is will you join us?
My name is Jonas Poggi. And I say that enough is enough.
What other #MarchForOurLives speeches resonated with you? Tag us on Twitter @youthradio and we may add them to this post!