LISTEN: Do you hear them? One after another, well informed, determined young people are speaking truth to power. Don’t write them off as too young to know anything. They are the future and they are saying things to the powers that be that need to be said.
Why? Because the powers that be are squandering their futures to protect their own lifestyles.
At the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference in Davos, Switzerland, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden did not mince words. When given the opportunity to speak, she said, “We are facing [an] existential crisis, the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. If everyone is guilty, then no one is to blame, and someone is to blame . . . Some people, some companies, some decision-makers, in particular, know exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money.”
She went on to say, “I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic . . . and act as if the house was on fire.”
Deb Dugan, CEO of the (RED) AIDS organization co-founded by Bono, called Thunberg “perhaps the most enlightened and wise person in the room,” and admired her ability to communicate the urgency of her message. Said Dugan, “She moved me to tears because all I could think was, ‘What have we done?’”
In the aftermath of the Parkland School Shooting, “a group of determined young people banded together to work to change the nation’s gun laws” and protect their future that Congress was squandering by refusing to pass effective gun control legislation. They galvanized the nation, organized a “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, D.C. in support of gun control, and vowed to keep on working until they were successful. Since the movement began, more than 25 states have passed some form of gun violence legislation consistent with their goals.
From the early days of their activism, they emphasized that “young people would remain at the core of this mission and organizational structure and that they would not be co-opted by special interest groups or wealthy backers.”
Four of those student leaders – David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, Jaclyn Corin, and Matt Deitsch realized the global reach of their anti-gun violence movement when they were awarded the 2018 International Children’s Peace Prize in Capetown, South Africa.
Anti-apartheid leader Desmond Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, presented the group with the award and said, “I am in awe of these children, whose powerful message is amplified by their youthful energy and an unshakable belief that children can – no, must – improve their own futures. They are the true changemakers who have demonstrated most powerfully that children can move the world.”
LISTEN: Do you hear them? They are speaking truth to power because the powers that be are squandering their futures to protect their own lifestyles.
Blessings on your efforts to hear them and respond in a meaningful way,