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Why I'm marching for my life

Madison Hahamy is 17, and had never felt gun control was a personal issue. That's all changed.

    Activists and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School attend a rally at the Florida State Capitol building to address gun control (Photo: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
    Activists and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School attend a rally at the Florida State Capitol building to address gun control (Photo: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

    I am inherently myopic. In school, I struggle to engage in a lesson if I do not understand its relevance to me. As an aspiring journalist, I write about issues that are personal. Gun control never was. Key word: was.

    The attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, could have disappeared into the constant barrage of headlines churned out daily. Except, it didn’t. This time will be different.

    Maybe it’s because this shooting targeted my generation, one that is social media savvy, politically aware and able to fight back. Maybe it’s because Nikolas Cruz espoused antisemitic views, and five members of the Jewish community were killed in the shooting. Whatever the reason: now, it’s personal. Now, I’m angry. And you should be, too.

    And so, tomorrow in Chicago, I will attend the March for Our Lives. I will march because, when I saw a headline about 17 people injured in a school shooting, I scrolled past, because that’s bad but no one died so it’s not that bad. I will march because, when that same headline was later revised to say that 17 people were not injured but dead, I allowed myself to feel for a solid 30 seconds because I had a chemistry test the next day and life sucks but that’s the way it is.

    I will march because children are dying, and it took me seeing a picture of 14-year-old shooting victim Jamie Guttenberg, smiling in her sparkly blue batmitzvah dress, the same colour as my own, to realise it. I will march because I fear that I may forget if I do not, as the opposite of feeling is ignoring and that is the most chilling thought of all.

    More than anything, however, I will march because I cannot trust that others will march for me. This is my school, my government, my country, my life, and I will exercise every right that I have to make sure that the rest of the world knows that.

    Madison Hahamy, 17 is on the editorial board of www.jgirls magazine. org