High School: 1962 vs 2018

What was I worried about when I was in high school? Civil rights? Sure, but my school board got ahead of the curve when it carefully drew a diagonal line to sort kids into two high schools. This diagonal line meant that when our new school opened, both the old school and the new one would have similar demographics; both would be integrated.

So, without that to worry about, a classmate and I wrote a letter to the editor of our local newspaper protesting the plan to force our two high schools to share one graduation ceremony. Yup. That was our big issue. We would be the first class to graduate from two schools instead of one, and we wanted two different graduation ceremonies. And hey, guess what. After our letter appeared in the paper, other students supported this “cause,” and we got two graduation ceremonies.

Yeah, I’m not terribly proud of the fact that graduation ceremonies were my big issue as a high school senior. But it was instructive to me that our letter could inspire others and bring about change. This was 1962, and I had watched efforts to bring change to the south – and not only the south – on the television in our living room. I watched federal troops escort young black students to school. I didn’t fully understand how southern states were undermining these small victories, but I did understand that people were effecting change.

Today, I participated in the #March4Our Lives event in Seattle. It was awesome. I took so many pictures that my phone battery limped along at the end. I’ll post a bunch to Flickr as soon as my phone recovers. One of my favorite signs read, “It Takes Children to Raise a Village.” Indeed. How is it that we adults have let an entire generation of children grow up with routine active shooter drills at school? What has kept us from being single issue voters until this epidemic of gun violence is under control?

There were many opportunities for voter registration today. These wonderful kids who are organizing like crazy have the perfect opportunity to be single issue voters in 2018 and 2020. Any single-issue voter who thinks they need to vote for Republicans because they’re pro-life needs to rethink that nonsense. You really can’t be pro-life and oppose sensible gun laws. Supporting ready access to AR-15s is simply not a pro-life stance. Kids deserve a chance to grow up!

The crowd today was all ages and all colors. It was thrilling. I really believe that change is possible now. And I believe that once we successfully tackle gun laws, we will be able to tackle many other issues that affect us all. It feels so good to feel hopeful again. Thanks, kids. I’m with you all the way. Any I’m so sorry you’ve had to become the leaders on this issue.

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