Our generation is young. We’re too young to be defined by a set of characteristics, like the millennials and the baby boomers. But one thing that has defined our generation is “code red” drills. School lockdowns. Sandy Hook. Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

This is what defines our generation: We are the generation that has grown up with school shootings normalized. The generation that saw the pictures of dead first-graders and watched the interviews with their distraught parents. The generation that realized that kids our age were dying at school, and there was nothing we could do to prevent the same thing from happening to us.

After Sandy Hook happened, I assumed that such an enormous tragedy would certainly prompt change. “The government will do something,” I thought. “They’ll protect us. They care about us. Now that it’s kids being killed, action will be taken.” An abundance of thoughts and prayers were sent to the grieving families. Then the world moved on, though we haven’t forgotten.

We walked out of school last Wednesday to say exactly that: We remember. And we know better than to leave our fate in the hands of people who have shown that they don’t value our lives. School shootings may have defined us up to this point, but we are defining ourselves now by how we react to them. Passive children no more, we are standing up for ourselves because no one is standing up for us. And this is what will define us.

So many problems we have in this country and around the world can be solved by activism and participation in government. I hope that we will be remembered as the generation that took action in the face of inaction, and the generation that cared enough about each other and our future to make a difference.

Lillian Horne

student, Freeport High School


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