THE COURAGE OF THE MARJORY STONEHAM DOUGLAS STUDENTS

I've been captivated by the students of Marjory Stoneham Douglas, as they channel their grief and anger into a ferocious campaign to change the narrative on gun control in the United States and achieve common sense legislative changes. If there’s one word that best sums up the students’ spirit for me, it’s courage.

The Latin root for the word courage is ‘cor,’ which means heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Listening to these teens, we can hear their cri de coeur; a passionate and heartfelt plea to elected representatives, entreating to them to make common sense changes to gun control laws and prevent another mass school shooting.

Courage is a quality we all want: an attribute of good character making us worthy of respect. From the Bible to fairy tales; ancient myths to Hollywood movies, our culture is steeped with tales of bravery and self-sacrifice for the greater good. From the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz who finds his courage, to the Lion King, the Rebel Alliance leader Luke Skywalker in Star Wars to Harry Potter, children are raised on a diet of heroic and inspirational stories.

These teens have read the history books which tell colourful tales of social activists like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela who spoke out against injustice at great personal risk. They follow ‘disruptor’ entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk who’ve taken huge financial risks to follow their vision, and innovate like modern-day knights.

So when faced with an unconscionable act of violence, these teen students, led by warriors like Cameron Kasky, Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, decided enough is enough. If adults, whose job it is to keep them safe, were not up to the job, they’d take matters into their own hands.

And so began their courageous campaign where these teens quite literally started speaking truth to power. We saw Cameron Kasky confront Senator Marco Rubio on whether he will continue to  take money from the NRA, David Hogg face down the conspiracy theorists on MSNBC’s AM Joy Show  and Sam Zeif share his grief and vulnerability with the President at a White House event. And we’ve seen these teens launch the Never Again campaign and March For Our Lives, despite never having been involved in any form of political activism previously.

What I love about these teens is their energy, their seriousness and their fearlessness. I love their wit, their poise and their wisdom. I love how they’re fighting for the expansive view of democracy their parents told them was their destiny. I love how they’re demanding we do better. And I love how they’re not going to pass up the opportunity to make their voices heard in the streets, through civic and community engagement and at the ballot box.

These teens have a ‘leo cor,’ or heart of a lion, and I’m backing them all the way!

Question: How have you been inspired by the Marjory Stoneham Douglas students? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share let me know in the comments box below.

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