Recent protests display power in social media

By Saketh Vasamsetti, Columnist

Feb. 14 was an important day for many.

Perhaps most important for those who tragically experienced the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting first hand.

That week carried grief unlike any other as the lives of 17 students and staff were lost by the end of that entire nightmare. However, the following week held a different type of feeling.

Sean Rameswaram, host of the Vox podcast “Today, Explained,” described it simply: “Something changed this week.”

He goes on to explain the impact the students from Stoneman Douglas, as well as from all over Florida, have had since the shooting.

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CNN hosted a town hall where the victims of the shooting were able to meet with the National Gun Association and voice their needs.

However, several days of unwavering protest, demonstration and voiced distaste with current legislation were likely the only reason that town hall meeting was granted in the first place.

The students who rallied together were able to take a few steps forward in a debate that has been going on for years, and the turnaround for their voices to be heard was sooner than anyone expected.

What was most amazing about this was that at the front of these movements were students, all mostly in high school. Eighteen years of age or younger with a majority of those who can’t even vote yet.

It was these young students who are stereotyped as millennials that are “special snowflakes,” who cry about everything and have it easy in society. But the cries of those who demanded action at the town hall and at the meeting with President Donald Trump were real, filled with anger and discontent at the lack of action.

It’s true that a majority of the time, those kids on Twitter or Instagram may seem cancerous and perceived to make outrageous claims about current political issues. But when the time came, they stepped up and demanded answers. And although they didn’t really get what they wanted to hear… they took important steps forward.

The Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) took a similar stand this past week at the University, holding a strike after unsatisfactory progress with their contracts.

As a means of finding an immediate resolution, many graduate teaching assistants have cancelled classes and office hours, looking to make sure their impact is noticed.

Although the two can’t be compared, they are similar in urgency. Repeated disappointments and failure to make change will boil into large scale action as such.

Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Sandy Hook and too many more.

We’re told many times to go out and vote in order to bring change, however the students of Parkland have proven otherwise.

The sheer volume of social media that was dedicated to the influx of discussions regarding gun control led to so many people voicing their opinions. Opening up to that large-scale discussion was the first step, and the goal from here on should be to continue the momentum.

Whether it’s through physical protest or building social media presence, students should move forward… together.

Saketh is a sophomore in LAS.

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