Premise behind a Day of National Concern about Young People and Gun Violence and national distribution of the Student Pledge
After a tragic school shooting or any incident in which young victims have died from gunfire, conversation seems to center on what adults can and should do to keep young people safe from this kind of violence. Such discussions fail to honor – or even to note – the role that young people themselves can play in helping to reverse the violence.
The hope behind the Day of Concern is that young people, by raising their voices together to make a common promise on a common day, will be able to visualize the multiplication effect of their individual decisions. Taking part in this national observance may help them imagine a collective legacy: giving their children and grandchildren a future without gun violence.
National distribution of the Student Pledge underscores a message that is essential to reversing the tide of violence in this country: that violence is neither inevitable nor an abstract force against which we are powerless. Violence is, rather, the sum total of individual decisions, and reversing the violence will occur individual decision by individual decision.
It is important to let young people know that while the violent world into which they were born is not their fault, this does not mean that they are without power to change it.
While we as adults must reaffirm our own responsibility for making the country safer from violence, we also need to let young people know that they have their own powerful, positive role to play.
Mary Lewis Grow