Running an education nonprofit that focuses on providing children, particularly ones from low-income households with educational opportunities, our primary program is to provide the basic school supplies kids need for school. I never imagined, that even something more basic, safety in school would become a major issue in this country.
As the list of mass shootings in and around schools continues to mount it is no longer a problem that needs to be addressed long term but one that requires immediate action. While it will take time to implement some changes, there are clearly some changes we can make almost immediately.
Sadly, the children, families, teachers, staff and community members in Parkland, Florida had to first hand feel the effects of this terrible tragedy for something to change. This particular school tragedy feels different. The reaction is different, the number of people that are responding to what happened is large and growing by the day. There is a momentum that is building. The town hall meeting on CNN last week was just one example of how it feels different. It was so powerful and for those of you who watched it, you know what I am saying.
Carpe Diem. This is an opportunity for us, as a society, to rise up and make ourselves better, make ourselves stronger. We have an opportunity to show the world how great the citizenry of the United State can be when faced with real adversity.
While I don’t want to get my hopes up, it is possible that we can not only make great strides to address school safety and safety in our communities overall, but perhaps this movement will help shift the political process. It will get more people to vote. It will remind people that everyone has a voice, and that we need to use it. Maybe we will start to listen, really listen to one another. Maybe this shooting and the 17 lives lost will not be in vain.
Let us use the tremendous courage we’ve seen from the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those that have stood beside them to inspire us to join the movement for change. Let us all work together to make sure our children can go to school without fear for their lives. Let children focus on learning. Let teachers focus on teaching and providing guidance to them, so that they can grow up to be happy, healthy and contributing members of society.
Matthew Kurtzman, CEO