On March 14th, 2018, many HF students had the honor and privilege to walk out to support or speak out at the HF CommUNITY Summit. Students had the opportunity to share their voice and feel unified with their peers, and left feeling inspired and empowered. “Working on the summit with Chris, Hannah, and Tiffany was so inspiring for me personally. Creating an event meant to empower individuals and seeing the students in HF show up to support it showed me that our generation really will bring an end to mass shootings,” says HF summit organizer,senior Sofia Braunstein.
That wasn’t the end of it.
On Saturday, March 24th, 2018, the national movement March For Our Lives took place in Washington, D.C., with over 800 sibling marches all over the world, one being in Huntington, Long Island. That day will go down in history and in our children’s textbooks. It broadcasted in every newspaper, on every TV news channel, and on every social media. Empowering music was performed, and original poetry was recited, including HF’s Julia Spande’s eye-opening poem, “Lockdown.” Sister of Scott Beigel, victim of the Parkland shooting, as well as victim Jamie Guttengerg’s uncle spoke of their loved ones, only a few minutes from our homes in Huntington, LI.
Even our own HF students spoke at and attended the local rally in Huntington, with an estimated attendance of 3,000 students, teachers, and concerned parents, grandparents, and civilians holding up bold and powerful signs for the world to see. There was chanting, crying, and cheers in advocacy for OUR right to live. HF senior Janie Kowalchuck was one of the selected speakers, claiming that she “... spoke at the March For Our Lives because our generation is the future of this country. We are going to be the ones to finally accomplish sensible gun reform in this country.”
Sofia Braunstein also added that she marched at the MFOL in New York City. “After attending March For Our Lives in NYC last weekend I feel even more hopeful that this time things will change. The Parkland students are the wake up call this country needed. I am so excited to see the safer country my generation creates.”
With many students, parents, and even our very own HF teachers in attendance, the MFOLLI could definitely be deemed a success... but it wasn’t easy to put it together. It took a village of determined students, with little but extremely incredible help from the community. Volunteer and HF senior Quinn Theobald expressed his thoughts on the march in an interview.
“A little while ago I had a casual conversation with friends about where we would potentially hide in the event of a shooter. It's crazy that this is the new normal, because kids worrying about getting shot should never be normal. I became involved with the March For Our Lives initiative because I felt like this was a really important issue - one that, to me, shouldn't be an argument at all. It astounds me that anyone is against gun legislation in order to protect schools.
I've never been especially politically active before MFOL. To be honest, even though gun legislation was something that I’ve always felt strongly about, I never really thought about getting involved because I didn't think I could do anything that would make a difference. But when I was approached by Avalon (who runs the Long Island chapter of MFOL), I realized that there was something I could do. March For Our Lives is such a strong national movement, and it's all based on the efforts of students. Demonstrations like the March 24 rally and the school walkout are intended to show that the national student body is willing to fight for gun legislation. All these students can either vote already or will be able to soon, so if this is something that enough people feel strongly about, we will have the voting power to do something about it. And when government officials realize that, gun legislation may suddenly seem a little more appealing to them.”
The circumstances that led to so many people to being together at that march is unfortunate, but these students have proved how lucky we they are to say that their generation is being the voice for those who don’t have one anymore.
Enough is enough… And this is only the beginning. Our nation will likely see a bright future with powerful, kind, and passionate leaders…
And the future is right around the corner.