The Paw Print

Dear Lawmakers…

Iman Baber

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Dear lawmakers,

I honestly have no idea where to start.

What do I write? How can I make sense of the tangle of emotions in my mind?

So, I turned to research. I listened to the voices of the leaders behind this powerful movement. Their words brought me to tears, their strength only lifting up our generation and message even higher.

I listened to March for Our Lives leader Emma Gonzalez, describing the horror that had hit her school and hometown.

I listened to Naomi Wadler, an 11-year-old girl who bravely represented African-American girls who had lost their lives to gun violence.

I listened to every voice, each one inspiring and powerful.

But then I read the comments.

Nasty, horrible things. Shaming us as the Instagram-obsessed ones, the Tide Pod-chowing kids who have no right to speak out. The ignorant, snobbish teenagers who may as well be crisis actors to achieve glory and fame.

I just want to ask: Why?

Why? Why do you want to bring us down; why do you want to damper our efforts? You have seen souls not so different from us in previous generations, also fighting for their rights as we are. So why us? My heart shatters at each one of your piercing words.

I get it; I know we are different. I know that we are the first generation to grow up with cell phones, and that to you, is our sickness. I know that we are emotional and impulsive, and that makes us immature and unfit to be leaders in your eyes. To you, those are our weaknesses.

To us, it is our strength.

Stop defining us by our stereotypes.”

Each generation has had its own struggles, and every generation from now will keep having them. So I say: stop defining us by our stereotypes. It is when we fall from facing our struggles that we stand up stronger, taller, and wiser. As children, we had to fall, time and time again, before we could walk. We had to stumble and stutter our words before we could talk.

Now, as we grow older and face the world, fresh and new, I ask of you: Please open the gates and let us in. Let us fall; let us get scars and wounds and bruises. Let us learn from these experiences, and let us grow and plant roots. You will not be leading lambs to the slaughter, nor will you be tainting the world. Because just you watch when we learn how to balance on our feet, and sort our ABCs, we will do extraordinary things.

When we learn how to balance on our feet, and sort our ABCs, we will do extraordinary things.”

And if you don’t open your world to us, I say to watch out.

Because then we will open those gates ourselves.

One of the most fundamental principles that science has taught us is that change is the only constant. You must understand that it applies to you as well. As the leaders of our country, it is your responsibility to listen to your constituents. You work for us. Remember, that if you are unwilling to change, we have the power to vote you out, a right that most of us already posses or only have to wait a few more years to receive. And change will happen faster than you think. It is this change that we are fighting for. And we won’t stop today; we will march on and on for all we believe in. I believe that this movement can grow so much farther than its foundation purpose. It will serve as a beacon of hope to all those yearning for a bolder, better tomorrow.

Now, I know that we are not perfect. Far from it. But, our battle scars will serve as the guide for our improvement. We will research and learn all we can. We will learn which laws must be changed, and press for their improvement. We will be armed with knowledge, respect, and a powerful message to change the world.

Change the world for you. For us. And for our future.

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Dear Lawmakers…