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Gun Violence Prevention: Activism for Youth

By: Sammie Magee

I scrolled through TikTok to see a mother's video about how scared she is to send her elementary school-age daughter to school due to the daily threat of an active shooter entering her child’s classroom. I opened the comments to see nothing but parents, teachers, and students explaining their everyday fears in the classroom.

A teacher asks herself, “How can I protect 15 kindergartners?”

A parent says, “I just got rid of my daughter's light-up shoes and am buying a bulletproof backpack today.”

A middle schooler explains how she “looks for a hiding place on the first day of school.”

We can’t stay quiet and settle for feeling fear in our classrooms. So, how can we, as young people, fight for change? Activism can be viewed as significant and daunting, especially as a teen just getting into it. But so many options, such as volunteering for organizations like KID, allow young people to involve themselves and pursue reform.

Calling senators and urging them to co-sponsor an Assault Weapon Ban provides youth with an outlet and a voice. Organizations like Newtown Action Alliance even host after-hours lobbying sessions for those who experience phone anxiety. Additionally, the simple act of discussing the effects of gun violence with others breaks through the taboo walls encircling gun violence and incites meaningful reflection. Countless ways to advocate for reform. It might initially seem scary, but with time, you’ll be a pro activist!

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