By Lori Dube
I watched two videos over the weekend and they both made me cry. They weren’t sad tears, and they weren’t happy tears. They were inspired tears.
Emma Gonzalez, a student and survivor of the Florida high school shooting, gives an 11 minute impassioned speech demanding change in gun control laws in this country. Because she, and her classmates are still rocked by the trauma of the mass shooting that took 17 lives of their peers and teachers just days before, her words have power behind them. Waving notes from her AP Government class, and wiping away tears as she spoke, this young women was articulate and fierce, and inspired hope that change was possible. She called upon young people to make that change happen, starting with a national protest on March 14th. https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/18/us/national-student-walkout-womens-march-trnd/index.html
And then there was Drake’s just released “G-d’s Plan” video, in which he gives away nearly $1 million in bundles of cash and oversized donation checks, along with hugs and words of encouragement, to individuals and institutions in Miami in need. Even if there may be some “Look at Me…I’m So Generous” vibe to the video, the need, and gratitude of the recipients can’t be denied. In the video we see joy, and hope, that life can be easier for a young family with three small kids, a local high school, the fire department, and an underfunded homeless shelter. All the money that Drake gave away isn’t enough to solve the problems of poverty, violence, guns, trauma and hopelessness that hangs over the lives of so many in our country’s poor neighborhoods. But at it’s best, this video could be a spark in the national conversation on equity disparity and all it’s ramifications in the United States.
What if young people like Emma Gonzales, and the other students from her high school calling for a national day of protest against current gun laws in March, could get together with the socially conscious celebrity voices of this young generation like Chance the Rapper, and now do-good Drake (who called making this video “the most important thing I have ever done in my career,”) could get together to bring new energy and wider attention to guns in this country. Gun violence doesn’t just happen in poor urban neighborhoods or suburban high schools. The threat to young people, preschoolers to high schoolers, is everywhere, and because it traumatizes everyone, maybe it could unites us all.
That’s something I’m hoping for.