Listen to students now . . . and then

Following last month’s horrific mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students there and across the country — including in central Illinois — have become energized and vocal. Politicians and the media have taken notice, listening to and promoting their calls for solutions to gun violence.

Many schools were preparing for a nationwide school walkout March 14. It was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in every time zone and last for 17 minutes — one for each victim who lost their life in the Parkland massacre.

“Our generation is the one that’s going to cause change,” said Veronica Lucian of Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in Pennsauken, New Jersey, during an unprecedented meeting with student leaders from nine Catholic high schools in southern New Jersey with Camden Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan that also explored bullying and mental illness issues.

The church is doing a lot of extra listening to young people this year as it prepares for an October synod of bishops on matters relating to their faith and vocational discernment.

We thank all who are letting their voices be heard in a peaceful but persistent manner. And we remind politicians and the media, as they promote and applaud the student activity now, that hundreds of thousands of students march in our nation’s capital every January in an attempt to be the generation that causes change in the nation’s laws and views on the sanctity of all human life. Listen to and acknowledge them as well. — Thomas J. Dermody

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