How to Be Hopeful (Against All Odds)
“59 Dead After Las Vegas Concert Massacre.” We all saw the headlines blasted on our phones, televisions, laptops, and newspapers. A concert, where people should feel safe and free, had been attacked by a man shooting out of a nearby hotel window. I felt powerless and hopeless. CNN journalist Jake Tapper summed it up by saying, “I wish I could tell you this will never happen again. I wish I could tell you that our lawmakers are now in a room trying to create laws to prevent this from happening. But I can’t, because they aren’t."
After all, the same cycle happens over and over again. A white man gets guns that he shouldn’t have. He proceeds to shoot and kill innocent people. But in the news, he’s described in ways that humanize him. If the shooter had been Muslim, the coverage would’ve been different. The majority of mass shooters are white males, but no one calls for a ban on them—because they’re the ones who run our country. Another moment of silence in Congress, and back to business as usual.
Not long ago, one of my friends asked me how I, at the tender age of 16, have already lost hope. I’ve lived through the largest mass shootings in recent American history. I've lived through Newtown, Aurora, Pulse, Las Vegas, Virginia Tech, Red Lake, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, University of California, and that's just to name just a few.
Two days after Las Vegas, when hope still seemed dim and our hearts were still raw, I read a letter from E.B. White to someone named Mr. Nadeau about hope. He wrote: “It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people, we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man's curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.”
Suddenly, that spark of hope was there again. I believe in our generation. I especially believe in the girls who are currently teenagers. Our thirst for knowledge, our contumacy, and our ingenuity can move mountains and change the world. The future is ours, and I have no doubt that we will change it for the better.
When you feel powerless or like all hope is lost, remember that we have everything we need to get out of the mess and rise above it. Gen Z is the most diverse and inclusive generation yet. We believe in a pluralistic society. We’re making that change towards a peaceful and fair culture already, through social media and protests and becoming politically active. Just imagine how much will happen when we become the governing body. I have faith in us, and you should too.
Want to start making change now? A few suggestions...
- Donate to Everytown for Gun Safety.
- Volunteer with the American Red Cross, the Coalition Against Gun Violence, or with a local elected official.
- Call your reps! Here's how to get started.
By Lilli Frame, 16