After the Parkland shooting, Emma Gonzalez gave a thoughtful and furious speech calling “BS” on politicians, the NRA, and corporations for their complicity with the proliferation of guns and gun violence. Gonzalez began her conclusion by stating that “[t]he people in government who were voted into power were lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice…” and ended by calling BS on the notion “that us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works.” In the case of Parkland—as well as recent campus activism—media and supporters have celebrated youth leading the way, but youth activism is not always so well received. John Lewis famously railed against being told to “be patient and wait” by older Civil Rights activists. Others have questioned whether online activism could have an impact. More have raised concerns over whether activism against racism on campus is a misstep or a distraction from addressing institutionalized inequality. But to understand these critiques we must first recognize the role that youth plays as an identity for young activists.
Tag Archives: March for our Lives
By Linda Stout
When I first became involved in social justice movements in the 70’s, classism was a major barrier to people like me. As a low-income, rural woman, I found that when I joined the social justice movements of my time… the peace, women’s, and environmental movements, I lost my voice. People just assumed if you were part of these movements, you had a college education, spoke with “accepted” grammar, and looked like their idea of a “leader.” Without any of that, I was often ignored and overlooked. People would make reference to those stupid southerners, white trash, and trailer trash, meaning people like myself.
It was only from the women who were in the civil rights movement, often critical of the classism and sexism within that movement, that I found a home, a place of acceptance.