The school walkouts taking place are not pointless. Society needs a reminder of the power of advocacy. Advocacy shines a light on issues and serves as a catalyst for new legislation. Advocacy shows people how to use their voices to demand change. This is what protests, marches and walkouts do.

The Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott, led by Martin Luther King Jr., is one of the most famous protests in history. Starting Dec. 5, 1955, the 13-month boycott to end segregated buses began. Then, too, people asked “What’s the point?” Well, on Nov. 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated buses were unconstitutional. This protest changed legislation and brought international attention to civil rights.

The Montgomery bus boycott gave a voice to individuals who were silenced by society. These walkouts do the same. They give a voice to younger generations who are often ignored and dismissed by older generations.

I live minutes away from Sandy Hook. My community, Parkland and so many others are forever scarred. If grown adults in our country do not think that children being murdered is cause for change, then we, young adults and children, will be the ones to act. Older generations say we have no power. I am here to say that we do.

Nelson Mandela once said: “Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation.” The generations in charge right now have proven they are not great. The responsibility of greatness now falls upon younger generations. We may be the future of this country, but we can also have an impact on the present. Continue to walk out. Continue to march. Let us never listen to those who say our voices aren’t enough to make a difference. History shows that even the most silenced populations can change the world.

Kelly Bastura

student, University of Southern Maine School of Social Work

Gorham