U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is scheduled to visit Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wednesday morning to meet with educators and students in the aftermath of the shooting there last month that claimed the lives of 17 people, 14 of them students.
And while it’s being reported DeVos is very likely walking into a situation where she could “get an earful,” at least one activist student — who has had little problem telling everyone else what she thinks when it comes to gun control and the evils of the NRA — has decided to skip school that morning.
Emma Gonzalez plans on sleeping in.
Good thing I was already planning on sleeping in tomorrow https://t.co/Oy6ALcDHLZ
— Emma González (@Emma4Change) March 7, 2018
Compare this attitude with the one also displayed this week by her fellow classmate and #neveragain activist (and 2nd Amendment supporter, where Gonzalez is most certainly not) Kyle Kashuv, who remains hopeful that real results can come from bipartisan discussion. And to that end, he’ll be taking meetings with both Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) and Republican Senator Ted Cruz (TX).
Just got an email from @SenSchumer office. They are trying to find a time for me to chat with the Senator.
Same for @tedcruz office. People do believe in bipartisanship and it will work. I believe in this Country too much to think it won't.
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) March 6, 2018
Giving Miss Gonzalez the benefit of the doubt, there certainly is a history of nonviolent protest in this country that involves walking out, and perhaps that’s what her decision to hit the snooze button is all about.
But the adults around her should remind her that there is another, less passive, way to be heard; and it involves having the courage to show up and speak your mind. That’s what Martin Luther did when he nailed his 95 theses (essentially a list of grievances) to the door of the church in Wittenberg, which sparked the Protestant Reformation. It’s what Martin Luther King, Jr. did when he marched across the Edmund Pettus bridge. It’s what the Tea Party did when they rallied in groups against legislation they thought exhibited a power grab by the federal government.
In all these cases, there was an attempt to communicate grievance, to varying degrees of success. Marching in protest is one thing (and there is little doubt Gonzalez will be among the marchers who descend on DC at the end of March), but when the time comes to display eloquence of argument because the opposition has come to your town and is ready to listen, you show up.
You don’t sleep in.
No reports yet on if Emma made it to school today.
You can see more student reactions here, including one activist student who retweeted Gonzalez with the pithy statement, “Literally no one asked for this” in reference to DeVos’ visit. The aforementioned Kashuv responded, “I did.”