i. There is a fury inside my chest that pulsates and burns and demands. And just as fiercely, there is fear, a terror that is not natural but coils deep inside my gut and demands I listen to it. We are dying, every goddamn day. I wake up and there is a twitter notification, "new school shooting." I wake up and there is a new text message from my friends, "did you hear about the shooting? 17 kids died." I wake up and school is cancelled because someone threatened to shoot it up.
ii. I'm in math class and there's a lock down drill and we turn off all the lights and hide. We sit in silence and our thoughts grow loud and we wonder, what if next time, it's not a drill? My school counselor asks me, do you feel safe here? And I answer, never. Because there is always fear fear fear inside me. We are all afraid. What if one day, it's us?
iii. We want- no we need- something, anything, everything, to change. We beg, we beg on our knees, please please keep us safe. We are your children. We have begged you to help us so many times, you tell us to stop. Stop because, "there's nothing we can do." You won't help us. You've made that clear. Now what? Now what? We cannot live like this. If you will not help us, then it is up to us to make you hear us (we will scream too loud to be ignored any longer). Because we're sick of dying. Because we're sick of being afraid down to our very bones, will this be my last day? Because we're sick of being the victims. And you, you have the audacity to say we are too young to protest this. (you have given us no choice- kids grow up quick when they don't know if today will be their last). You've made us into this.
iv. We asked for help and you ignored us. We asked for help and you told us there was nothing that could be done. We asked for help and you silenced us. And now you wonder why we are angry. We are dying, and you're more concerned about your guns. Goddamnit, when did guns become more important than your children? When did we become expendable? When?
v. We go to school to learn. We are children, children, children. Our hands are made for writing essays, not folded in a prayer that we'll survive the next lockdown. Our ears are made for listening to lectures on how the earth was formed and how to solve for x, they are not made to listen to the screams of our brothers and sisters. Our feet are made for playing tag at a playground, not running from our deaths. You call us the future, but how can we be the future if we never live long enough to see it?