The March for our Lives, Student Leadership and a Call for Action!
As we stood outside our son’s US High School today, March 14, a small group of students gathered in the courtyard, circling the flagpole, joining hands and both physically and mentally, taking a stand. In a show of solidarity with the students across the country, these Minnesota High School students were demonstrating their capacity for leadership. I was left inspired, touched and filled with resolve for our future.
Inspired! In an effort support change, where the current adults have failed, students across the world organized marches, peaceful demonstrations and moments of silence. Our students, the leaders of tomorrow, took a stand for their values and safety.
Touched by their empathy. With nothing to lose financially or politically, their pure voice of concern and sadness was a wave flowing across the nation. The young people participating took a stand, navigating a labyrinth of positive support layered with directives containing consequences and punishments. And, they met the challenge by carrying signs, holding hands, sharing passionate speeches and crying tears for friends, sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers that are gone forever.
If I was ever proud of what student leadership could look like, it was today. A passionate advocate for student leadership, I believe that today’s March for our Lives walk out is an example of the potential of student leadership. And, I challenge the status quo in all schools and organizations that elect and select a couple of “leaders.”
As student council advisors and supporters of student leadership, it is time to call for some shifts forward that build on past practice of traditional student council AND intentionally rethinks our practices and programs. It is time to make a commitment to:
- Provide leadership opportunities for all types of students;
- Develop leadership skills and practices in any interested students;
- Encourage students to gain experience and begin seeing the leader in themself;
- Shift the culture of our schools and institutions to be more inclusive;
- Offer authentic leadership experiences;
- And, Empower students to create student initiated leadership experiences that develop passion toward the greater good.
As a nation, we have cried over the senseless loss of life, both in and out of school, and remain shocked at how we have gotten to a place where individual rights supercede the right to safety. With our students demonstrating leadership and their pure voices, free of political and financial motivation, we can hope this student created movement can be the catalyst to drive meaningful change.
It is time to join with these young voices to support their abilities to lead and understand the capacity for good that is possible in all of our students.