In a time when the United States is embroiled over the second amendment, it is important to remember how empowering the first amendment still is: the right to free speech. Those who are directly affected by the debate over gun control are also unfortunately not the ones being consulted when it comes to devising a solution to the issue. School shootings are a fairly recent and horrifying phenomenon that have a big impact on those who are amongst the most vulnerable, but the issue remains firmly in the hands of elected officials who are largely motivated by political agendas. People will say that we need to hear the student’s voices, but that sentiment is soon reduced to a photo-op or hashtag rather than an equal role in the decision-making process.

@whossoniya says “We don’t get asked how we feel, but we should be asked because we’re the target. Everyone making the rules should be talking to us because they need to know what’s actually happening and how it’s affecting us. How can you make changes in schools without talking to the students? It doesn’t make sense!” . . . . #armmewith #1MillionStudentVoices #jointhemovement #saveourschools #lovethekids #amplify #stuvoice #enough #marchforourlives #neveragain #nationalwalkoutday #wordsofwisdom #everytown #studentvoice #community #iteachtoo #schools #1MStudentVoices #teachersofinstagram #thursdaythoughts #thursdaymotivation #teachersfollowteachers #studentsmatter #msdstrong #everytown #onemillionblackstudents

A post shared by 1Mstudentvoices (@1mstudentvoices) on


Fortunately, students today don’t need to wait for the adults to let them talk. In an effort to broadcast the voices of the students who have something to say about safety in schools, a movement called 1 Million Student Voices has emerged. While #1mstudentvoices is by and for students, it was spurred on by an organization called Sevenzo, a passionate group of educators who are working to compile best practices for creating a caring classroom. Sevenzo recognized the vital importance of giving a voice to students, and with the help of some extraordinary changemaker students, 1 Million Student Voices harnessed the power of social media to hold a mic up to students all over the country to talk about how school safety affects them personally. With videos, portraits, and lettered graphics, #1MillionStudentVoices strives to create a platform that every student can contribute to.

 

Amizade is proud to be affiliated with the movement through our partnership with Sevenzo. Sevenzo is actively helping the students build momentum, and that includes expanding the conversation to encompass students from all over the world. Violence isn’t exclusive to the United States nor youth, so it is important to hear a global perspective on the recent influx of gun violence in the US. In addition to sharing 1 Million Student Voices with our own Amizade network, we are very excited to utilize that network to contribute more student voices. Stay tuned for interviews with our own Amizade participants (past and current) to hear their thoughts on their safety in school as well as how the Amizade experience has influenced their outlook on community, safety, and youth empowerment.