More than a week has passed since the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, but it feels much longer. The national conversation continues, thanks to the students who are leading the discussion. One of those students, is my niece Carly Novell, a senior at Stoneman Douglas. Carly was one of the first voices that began the national conversation by tweeting the following in response to a conservative blogger:
As Carly’s grief and anger grew she decided to share the story of her grandfather, my dad, who eerily and unimaginably also hid in a closet to survive a mass murderer almost 70 years ago.
My dad passed away in 2009, for most of his life he kept his pain and trauma hidden beneath the surface. He was 12 years old when my grandmother hid him in a closet as the gunman went on his “walk of death” and murdered 13 people, including my grandmother, grandfather, and great-grandmother.
70 years later our family is facing a similar scenario, this time, Carly found herself hiding in a closet, thinking of her grandfather and asking for protection. In those two hours of hiding, Carly became an activist and an advocate for gun control. She and her peers at Stoneman Douglas are leading the way.
The media has taken note of this articulate, activated group of teens. They should be getting ready for Prom and graduation, but instead, are planning a massive march on Washington, DC March 24, 2018, in a #MarchForOurLives event. They have appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and countless other media outlets. Some have met with the President, rallied at their state capitol in Tallahassee, participated in a 2-hour Town Hall on CNN, wrote a song in memory of their 17 fallen peers and teachers, attended funerals and vigils, written blog posts, created Tweets that have gone viral, published their school newspaper with live reporting on the story as it unfolds…did I say it has only been a little over a week!
So, this is my ask to my school nurse colleagues. What can we do to support all of our students and school communities to not only feel safe but to provide the safety net for those complicated and emotionally broken students that are at risk to themselves and others? What will we do to use our voices to demand policy changes that arm us with help instead of guns? What will we do, what can we do? The teens have done a lot in a very short time.
I promised my sister and my niece that I would do whatever I can on the public health policy side of the equation. I am asking for your help, your support, and yes, your thoughts and prayers. #SchoolNursesDemandAction is a grassroots effort to bring attention to the public health emergency/epidemic of gun violence in our country. My father’s family was murdered by a man who used a semi-automatic weapon, my niece’s friends, peers, and teachers were murdered by a man who used a semi-automatic weapon. Enough is enough! Let’s all learn from this horrific story, from my family’s generational trauma and in honor and memory of those who have died.
Please share your ideas either on this blog site or on Twitter and use the #SchoolNursesDemandAction.