I have been asked to speak at the March for Our Lives March (Official youth-led) rally in Indianapolis on March 24th. What follows is my speech and I hope it will solidify the movement and inspire those that read and here it to push on despite. A special thank you to Mark Sniderman for help with editing.
As I stand up here, I am compelled to say I am sorry.
I am sorry that we don’t live in a world where your lives are valued as they should .
I am sorry that we have failed you and rallies like this have to happen.
I am sorry that you are told to go by the rules, of a system based on greed, institutionalized racism and patriarchy, which only works if you are an able-bodied, cisgendered, white, Christian male.
Others will tell you that is not the case, but as we stand in this Statehouse, look around at the history draped across these walls.
Others will tell you that you should find more productive ways to take a stand.
Yet, these are the same people that pick and choose issues to care about, and think stepping into a voting booth every 4 years, is enough to evoke change.
They are the same people that have succumbed to the status quo and cast their dreams aside to fit into a society that has long proven to only care about a select few and want you to do the same.
Don’t do it. Instead, be motivated by those in this world, past and present, who refuse to be silenced and fight for what is right.
Do not let this moment dwindle inside you, but use it to empower you to fight for what you believe in, every day of your life.
Silence has never brought about change.
Do not lose sight of this bedrock truth: your life is worth more than their comfort.
Do not let them distract you by half-truths and lies contorted as solutions.
Be critical of what they present you and stand firm in your convictions, to do what is right.
Take to the streets, the halls, this Statehouse and not just today, to show them that you will not stand for this anymore.
Use this moment to get active in the movements that surround you and don’t be afraid to continue to fight for your cause.
We must fight for black lives, trans lives, our undocumented community, just as hard as we fight to end gun violence in our schools and streets.
I stand here today honored by the movement you have created and am humbled to see you take a stand to say not one more.
In you pulses the spirit of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade, that ignited the Civil Rights Movement and propelled a nation to look at the harsh reality of segregation.
In you lives the spirit of Ahed Tamimi, and all the Palestinian children who fight against and resist the Israeli occupation and destruction of their homeland.
In you marches the spirit of Stonewall, Standing Rock, Tiananmen Square and of all those marching in Paris and Iran. Stand with those fighting today and with those who have come before us and whose shoulders we all stand upon.
Because of them, we can no longer be silent as our schools become hunting grounds.
We can no longer be silent as zip codes become war zones, and we can not only show up to rallies when victims are within school walls, but we must also take a stand against the violence that must be navigated on the streets as well.
We can not only show up when white bodies are on the lines, but we must demand an end to the violence that plagues black and brown communities everyday.
We must take a stand against the violence perpetrated by our police force, claiming lives all across this nation and in our own city.
We must take a stand for the families destroyed by gun violence in their own homes due to domestic violence and suicide.
We must take a stand to say not one more. Not one more.
Today, let us leave this people’s house, inspired to use our voices and this platform to tell the world, it ends with us. It ends with you. .
No matter your gift, it can be used to push those in charge to do right, or to push them out of the way.
Build a website, learn the laws, write the song, paint, create, organize and move to make them pay attention to what matters… you!
Show them you will not be silent in the face of oppression, lobbyists or corporations.
Within you is the power to change the world.
Within you is the power to stop the gun violence on our streets, in our schools and in our homes.
Within you is the power to grab the world’s attention and fight like your lives depend on it… because they do.
Within you is the power to speak up and speak out.
Do not let them silence you.
Your lives are worth more than corporate money.
Your lives are worth more than to become another cog in a broken system.
Your lives are worth more than bullets.
You are worth living out your passions.
Your life is worth the fight.