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American Forum - National | 03/02/2018

17 Ripples Tore Into The Tide Of My Community
By Sophie Pearson


Have you ever seen a ripple in the tide? The water, seemingly calm, is greeted by some odd disturbance, causing it to shift and move. The waves always move outward from the original disturbance and into the environment, affecting everything around it.

Imagine yourself at the center of that ripple. As you go through life, you're greeted by new disturbances and are forced to shift and move accordingly, adapting to new environments. However, just as you are affected, the people around you are, too; they must adapt as well. From up close, these events are all-encompassing, but as you move further away from the epicenter, their effects disperse and lessen, making them seemingly insignificant. But is a wave not made up of all those seemingly insignificant ripples in the tide?

Last Wednesday, as the school day came to a close, 17 new ripples tore into the tide of our community in the form of bullets. The effects of these actions not only gripped Stoneman Douglas High School, but our community and our country. It affected everyone who heard the story. The epicenter of this tragedy was so great that it shook us to the core. All because of the actions of one person and 17 ripples.

Standing here today as advocates of change counts for more than the actions of any one person. We are standing at the foot of something great, but this alone will not garner change. From here, we must remain calculated and vigilant. We must do our part. Remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King in these moments, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that." Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

So, this is for you, Alyssa, Martin, Nicholas, Jaime, Luke, Cara, Gina, Joaquin, Alaina, Meadow, Helena, Alex, Carmen, Peter, Coach Feis, Mr. Hixon and Mr. Beigel This is for you. We will not let you down. Because enough is enough. Because this could have been us just as it was them. Because we are the future and we will not keep representatives in office who don't stand with us.

My intent is not to be political. But I will say this: The moment you accepted money from the National Rifle Assn., you put the value of money over the value of people. Your people. The people you promised to represent and take care of. That is unacceptable.

Us coming together, united, is the beginning of something history textbooks will describe.

So, if you haven't seen a ripple in the tide before, just wait.

Pearson is a senior at Pompano Beach High School in Broward County, Florida. She personally knew people who were affected by this great tragedy.

Copyright (C) 2018 by the American Forum - National. The Forum is an educational organization that provides the media with the views of state experts on major public issues. Letters should be sent to the Forum, 1071 National Press Bldg., Washington, DC 20045. (03/02/2018)