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School shootings and millennial engagement
La Voz Staff Photo

By David Conde

The Millennial Generation born between 1982 and 2004 represent the new demographic majority in the United States. Much of what is being done in politics and policy is directly affecting them and their children here and to come.

For Latinos, that generation has been a godsend. Although misunderstood by most of us, Latino Millennials are leading a revolution to upgrade the socioeconomic status of the community in very significant ways.

Led in some respects by the energy of the work and advancement-hungry immigrants, Latino Millennials have taken the old 20th Century high school dropout and non-graduation statistics that sometimes approached 50 percent and basically made them disappear. They also took the negative national data concerning the number and percent of Latinos attending colleges and universities and turned them around so that now, they have the largest percentage among all racial and ethnic groups enrolled in higher education.

One of the knocks on not only Latino Millennials but also all Millennials is that they have not taken their place in society, especially since they are the new majority, and provided the leadership that corresponds to their democratic responsibility. Although the 2016 presidential campaigns and election stirred their interest, many are turned off by the current regressive nature of American politics, the divisiveness and lack of authenticity on the part of both Democrats and Republicans and the finger-pointing across the spectrum of national leadership.

Yet, they must engage, especially now that the lives of the children of their generation is at stake. The 25 major school shootings since Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado in 1999 cry out for leadership to confront the killing of children. Columbine saw the death of 12 kids, 1 teacher and 24 others wounded and was a call to action that fell on deaf ears.

So have the other 23 shootings in all parts of the country. The December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut is among the saddest as twenty, six and seven year-old and six teachers were gunned down by a person using an AR 15 assault rifle that was once the prototype for the M-16 standard weapon issued by the military.

The St. Valentines killing of 17 children by another AR 15 weapon at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida represents a direct challenge to the Millennial community because the dead and survivors of the shooting do not only represent the trailing end of the generation, but also, it is their own sons and daughters that are now the victims.

We know that the leadership of the Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidency are Boomers who were the previous majority and many are in the pocket of the National Rifle Association, a powerful organization that insists on an unfettered Second Amendment that allows for weapons of war on the streets of American without regulations. We know that these politicians will send the appropriate condolences, wait-out the cries of the people and then watch with much concern the next massacre of children in another school.

If there is an issue that would unleash the power of the Millennial Generation it is this one because regardless of political persuasions the danger to the most loved ones is at stake. There is no need to hesitate to defend what is most precious and not subject to any political bargain.

I am hearing the talk about it looking like the community reaction to the Parkland massacre does not appear to be going away. Hopefully, that is the case.





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