We wave high fives and applaud you, the students participating in Saturday’s March for Our Lives. We’re grateful for your unified voice and virtuous activism. Thank you for your commitment and courage to rise up, be seen and heard, and to engage in civil discourse. Your decision to express your opinion, to mobilize a movement for positive change, is what philosopher and psychologist John Dewey defines as the purpose of an education: to prepare young people to participate in America’s democratic society.
We’ve been following your stories in the news and on social media; it’s clear that you’re a force of goodness and resolve. You are standing on the shoulders of others in our nation’s history who marched for social justice, human rights, equality, the environment, and the human-centered side of history. So please know, as you walk tomorrow, you will be joined in spirit by other brave leaders like yourselves—Martin Luther King, Jr., Rachel Carson, Sojourner Truth, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Jones, Harvey Milk, W.E.B. DuBois, Cesar Chavez, Edith Windsor, among others—who have marched for the greater good.
We’re disheartened to read the words of corporate and individual bullies, skeptics, and critics of your movement. They remind us to listen to the wisdom of Theodore Roosevelt, recently highlighted by one of our guiding lights, Brené Brown, in her book Daring Greatly:
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.…”
Thank you, empowered and emboldened students, for standing in the arena and striving valiantly to create change. Your leadership gives us hope for a brighter future.