You Have a Voice and a Choice

Sophie Terian, copy editor

Hey, did you know you have an important voice?

Yes, you. All of you. Every single one of us. We are teenagers, and we are powerful. We have voices and visions, and intelligence and integrity to push for the changes we want to see in our world. And maybe that sounds sappy— but this is genuine observation.

On March 24, an estimated 6,000 people met together at Theis Park to protest gun violence (among these were over 20 West students). After three hours of speeches, songs, dances and poetry recitations, we marched across Country Club Plaza, at one point completely surrounding it due to how long our line of protesters was. For an hour straight, we chanted the most concise messages of our cause: “enough is enough,” “lives not bribes,” “more love, less hate, I just want to graduate,” “protect education, demand regulation,” and more. People in the surrounding area would stop to wave, smile, honk and join the chants.

The support was overwhelming. My faith in humanity increased as I observed people of every age and walk of life come together to insist that student lives are in need of protection.

As a member of the Louder Than A Bomb [LTAB] slam poetry team, it was a full day. After getting to perform our group piece about gun violence at the march, we scurried to attend LTAB finals, where we competed with three other teams, but more importantly, listened to some of the most amazing slam I’ve ever heard. Slam poets used the power of poetry to tackle difficult, often taboo topics with unabashed freedom of speech— bringing attention to matters that need to change, painting their pictures in language that hits you hard.

This column’s focus is not political. It is meant to be a statement of amazement at the way our generation is already speaking up and banding together to create the changes we want to see in this world. No matter the cause, we have the ability to make the change. And if we’re already making changes— before some of us can even vote— I am overwhelmingly excited for the changes yet to come.

If you have felt like change is out of your reach, take a moment to see things in a new perspective. Look around you, and see the influence of young people that has pushed change from civil rights to Vietnam protests. Look inside yourself to find what you are passionate to change. And then? Work for that change.

Sorry if it all sounds cheesy. Just remember, “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” -Steve Jobs