How the fight for gun control bridges the generational gap

When Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho took the stage to speak at the Miami Beach March for Our Lives, I didn’t understand the hype. I tapped the man beside me who looked to be in his 60s or 70s. He told me the superintendent had recently been offered the position of Department of Education chancellor by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio but chose to stay in Florida instead.

Later, when Flo Rida walked onstage, I was the hype, in good company with the frenzied millennials around me. The same man tapped me on the shoulder this time and said, “OK, now it’s your turn to tell me who this guy is.”

In that small exchange, the younger and the older drew from their vastly different lives to help each other understand this small piece of the world in front of them. There was no passing of the baton, no wisdom imparting, simply a symbiosis: each benefitting from the other.

While gun control is a highly divisive issue, the roar of which has quaked the nation in recent months, I still couldn’t ignore my glass-half-full mentality as I watched its effect at the march. From babies to the elderly, every age was represented defending their own, and each other’s, right to safety. The boundaries of age were crumbling in front of my eyes.

Students can’t singlehandedly reform gun control, and neither can adults. But we can work in tandem. We, students, are sketching the future in our minds. We are the ones with the purity of heart to see a peaceful, unified nation and the tenacious, youthful spirit to fight for its realization. Members of older generations possess the tact, experience and wisdom to aid in its development.

And this new and improved world is well under construction. After area high school students protested in front of the Capitol Building and the White House in Washington D.C., members of Congress were spurred to action: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) started working on a bill that would raise the minimum age to buy an AR-15 rifle to 21 for non-military buyers.

Thanks to the push from these students, senators are drafting new laws.

The high school student speakers at the march talked a great deal about not supporting candidates who vote against gun control or take kickbacks from the NRA, but it was hard to ignore one small issue: They were all still ineligible to vote.

Parkland students Adam Buchwald and Zach Hibshman realized this and decided to reach out to adults for help. They began a movement called Parents Promise to Kids (PPTK) and devised a contract simply asking parents to pledge that they would “put child safety over guns.”

The fight for gun control and student safety is having an effect in every corner of the nation, spurring people to take a stand.

Though this may be an incredibly partisan time in our political history, we still always hold to our core national pillar: Everyone has a voice, from the children in elementary schools to the elderly in nursing homes. And the issue of gun control is driving everyone to stand up, speak out and work together to forge this ever more perfect union.

Dana Munro is a sophomore majoring in musical theater. Glass Half Full runs every Tuesday.