It’s easy to throw opinions around from behind the safety of a keyboard, but the Parkland students had to first look death in the face before they could come to theirs.
An event like the one they had to survive is going to cause some very strong opinions, and given various circumstances, take some strong stances in very public ways. As a good majority of the world knows, a group of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students became the face of the “March For Our Lives” event, which focused primarily on gun control. They were continuously invited to appear on major networks, and various magazine covers in order to push the idea on the American populace.
Not nearly as talked about or quoted was another Parkland student who stood firmly against his fellow student’s opinions.
Kyle Kashuv didn’t have a cadre of fellow students backing him up, and the mainstream media was content to ignore him for the most part. But despite the fact that Kashuv wasn’t a part of any high publicized marches, speeches, or tons of camera time, he got things done.
As David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, and others were appearing on cable news networks to speak their piece, Kashuv was meeting with politicians on both sides of the aisle to make sure legislation happened that would allow schools to better defend themselves. For Kashuv, eliminating guns wasn’t on the menu.
And so the battle lines were drawn between Hogg and his fellow gun-control activists, and Kashuv. The war of words commenced, with seemingly everyone looking to get their shot in. Meanwhile, as the nation went to war with itself over gun-control from the safety of their laptops and phones, the Parkland students still had to look each other in the face.
A strong divide developed between the students who either sided with Kashuv, or with Hogg and Co., with both sides believing they knew how to protect schools better. With the media putting the spotlight on the school and its students, the divide only widened.
For Kashuv, this is the tragedy that followed the atrocity, and he’s looking to heal the wound.
With the help of Charlie Kirk and his Turning Point USA group, a youth-centered political activist group that’s become something of a hub for student conservatives, Kashuv is paving the way for both sides to come together.
Kirk and Kashuv have created the High School Leadership Summit. The three-day summit, which takes place on July 24-26 at George Washington University, is focused on teaching high school conservatives to be as effective as Kashuv was during the Parkland saga. Speakers include Kashuv, Kirk, Congressman Steve Scalise, and Donald Trump Jr.
However, Kashuv isn’t stopping at conservative students from across the nation. His heart is still with his fellow students, and he wants to bring them to the summit as well, whether they’re conservative or not. For Kashuv, the idea is a more thorough understanding of his position on how to deal with the school safety problem, and with that understanding, having a more level and friendly conversation.
To that end, Kashuv has opened up the Parkland scholarship, which will allow any Parkland student that applies to attend the conference free of charge, flight and room included.
“Charlie Kirk and I were planning the High School Leadership Summit and started discussing ways to get my peers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas involved,” Kashuv told RedState. “The media has recognized a select few students, but few even realize that my school has over 3,000 students. Charlie took this task to heart and over-delivered. He wanted to make sure every student has the ability to attend the event, without even thinking about finances, and also wanted my peers to have the opportunity to hear from lawmakers and interact with them.”
“This year has been tough on my classmates and caused a political divide,” Kashuv added. “TPUSA is bridging that gap and bringing us together as a cohesive unit. For that, I am forever grateful to Charlie and his amazing leadership and mentorship.”
The cameras might be gone, and the students aren’t appearing on this show or that with the same frequency, if at all. For Kashuv, however, and his fellow students, the story isn’t over. The healing is still going on, and the community is still putting it all back together despite the fact that it’s outlived its camera-ready usefulness.
This event should afford students the opportunity to become closer to the fellow students alongside whom they survived a very real threat, and is a superb opportunity for the students of Parkland to lead by example one more time.