Story by Kaitlyn Burden
Photo provided Kailey Kelpine
The events that occurred in Parkland, Florida will go down as a historic tragedy that changed the perspectives of young people everywhere. After the devastating school shooting, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School decided to take action. In just five weeks, they managed to organize and pull off an impactful protest that resonated across the country. Students and supporters gathered March 24 in cities across the nation to protest gun violence in schools in the “March for Our Lives.” Members of Generation Z used social media platforms to spread their values and ideals about their outlook on the world, which is why many in this generation are labeling themselves as the “Generation of Change.”
Despite many criticisms from Second Amendment advocates, it is clear Generation Z is making an effort to keep gun violence out of schools.
Kailey Kelpine, Rose State Student Senate president, spent her spring break at the protest in San Francisco to support the fight against gun violence. Kelpine described the experience as “truly liberating.”
“The energy around the Civic Center felt powerful; it felt like in that moment we could accomplish anything if we stood and fought together,” Kelpine added. “As a student, I felt empowered and convinced that our generation isn’t going to sit back and wait for change to happen. We’re gonna fight for it.”
Kelpine recalled getting chills when one of the speakers, Dylan Dodson, a sixth-grade student with a passion for this protest, gave a compelling speech about this generation’s persistence for change. According to Kelpine, Dodson spoke to the crowd with veracity about gun violence and her own personal experiences.
In a video Kelpine shared, Dodson looked to the crowd and said, “We refuse to be passive witnesses of history. We’re change-makers and we won’t sit and wait until we’re old enough to vote. That is why we are here today. We are motivated, we are ready and we can make a difference.”
Kelpine expressed her admiration for the bravery Dodson possessed in order to share her opinions publicly at such a young age. Kelpine says she was especially moved when Dodson said the following:
“To our generation: Your presence here today is an important step in this movement. History has its eyes on us, so we cannot stop here.”