Across the nation, many schools will be participating in a school walkout on March 14th.  It is a stand in solidarity with the student activists from Parkland, Florida. The March for Our Lives movement is a nationwide statement of standing in solidarity to give our young people the voice and opportunity to stand up for their own protection. It is a strong stand in favor of safer gun regulations. This mass movement of consciousness by our youth who have a powerful message is helping to change the standards of background checks and stricter regulations for gun ownership in this country.

This is happening in the wake of a continual stream of violence perpetrated against the most innocent of Americans. Just yesterday, my daughter’s elementary school, in the Hollywood Hills area of Laurel canyon was in lockdown for over two and half hours due to an unstable neighbor in the vicinity who was perceived as armed and dangerous. The children were locked in their classrooms with the light off, on the floor with posters taped up on the windows to shield them from view. The children were told this is not a drill, that they were actually on lockdown. They could not leave their classrooms and the teachers kept them entertained by playing games and reading quietly to them while the police barackaded around the suspect’s house, relocating all the kids away from classrooms that were potentially in the path of bullets in case there was a shootout.

The children knew very little about what was going on but stayed inside their locked down classrooms using buckets in closets to relieve themselves while a substantial police presence surrounded the home and school with guns drawn and  a helicopter circled overhead. Today a friend who recently moved to America from Italy showed me an image taken from her house yesterday of an officer pointing an AK47 on the roof of our school. We both had tears in our eyes. She said, “This does not happen in Italy. We do not have guns the way America does.” I left feeling ashamed for our country, feeling heartbroken and helpless.

This incident occurred just two weeks after the children participated in their first lockdown drill necessitated by the ever increasing threat of mass shootings spurred on by the most recent incident at the high school in Parkland Florida, where 17 kids lost their lives. Even a neighborhood that is considered “safe” such as ours, knows that we cannot be too cautious. The ever increasing threat of military style killing machines wishing to cause mass harm is no longer an anomaly.

Many children are marching tomorrow, because the adults are not doing enough. Pure and simple. It is shameful in the land of the free and the home of the brave that we live in a state of fear, held hostage to the demented will of yet another crazed man with a gun. We must stand beside these brave kids who are becoming the voice of reason and the image of activism. I pray it creates a resounding wave of awareness and policy change from our leaders. The awareness and activism of these children is a hopeful sign for change for the better. And if their activism doesn’t work today, soon enough their collective voice at the voting booth will tomorrow…

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