In the weeks following the Parkland shooting, thousands of teens across the country have been leading the national dialogue on gun violence, shaping the country they want to live in. No matter our politics, we can all agree: Kids who care about more than themselves become adults who care about more than themselves.
Now is the time to show up for them — by listening, supporting their growth as citizens and leaders, and helping to amplify their voices. Our Gen2Gen and Encore.org partners have been doing exactly that. Here’s a short list of what’s come across my desk this week:
- The Life Planning Network, a national association of professionals dedicated to promoting positive aging in people 50+, reached out to the student leaders of March for Our Lives to offer help mobilizing elder organizations to stand with youth at rallies across the country on March 24th. The Conscious Elders Network is encouraging older people to walk with and support students at these rallies as well.
- Julian Viviescas and A’niya Allen, two high school leaders with Generation Citizen, called on schools to teach “action civics” so students across the country can be prepared to respond to challenges in their own communities. We couldn’t agree more. Gen2Gen has launched a pilot program with Generation Citizen to place the first-ever cohort of older Democracy Coaches in classrooms to help teachers prepare students to be lifelong, active citizens.
- In a recent interview on NPR’s All Things Considered, Sandy Hook Promise founder Nicole Hockley spoke about meeting with the teen survivors from the Parkland shooting and her instinct as a 47-year-old mom to go “a little mama bear” on them — something I think we’ve all felt at some point these past few weeks. She shared some hard-earned wisdom based on her own experience losing her 6-year-old son at Sandy Hook: “Eventually the media will turn away. The spotlight will go away. And it’s how you use your voices in that silence, because that’s when the long-term battle really starts.”
There are more than 100 million adults over 50 in our country today. That’s a lot of people who can show up in that silence to amplify youth voices as they lead us toward a better future.
That’s the heart of what it means to live Gen2Gen: to be there for the Parkland teens, the Generation Citizen students, and all our kids — not just one day, but every day.
Feeling inspired to take action? Here are 5 things you can do to get involved today:
1. Use the Gen2Gen Opportunity Finder, to find a young person to mentor near you.
2. Share Generation Citizen’s Advocacy Hourglass framework with young people in your life. Help them use it to analyze the choices Parkland students have made in their current campaign and talk about how this framework could be used to address issues in your community.
3. Bring the Sandy Hook Promise Know the Signs program to your community and teach children and adults about the warning signs that could lead someone to hurt themselves or others, and how to intervene before trouble starts.
4. Demand sustainable gun violence prevention methods from your legislators. Call your representatives in Washington and urge them to support the STOP School Violence Act of 2018. This legislation invests in early intervention and prevention programs to prevent school violence.
5. Join the growing number of older adults attending March for Our Lives on March 24. Send us photos, share your stories with us, and tell us how you plan to show up for kids.
Published: February 28, 2018