Sunday, March 18, 2018

March: Inspiring student activism and #goodtrouble (ages 11 and up)

Although the past several months have left me feeling disillusioned with Washington politics, I have been moved and inspired by the response of young people across the US to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Tens of thousands of students across the United States walked out of school on Wednesday, March 14, demanding action on gun violence in a National School Walkout.
Berkeley High School students
protesting gun violence, March 14, 2018
via Berkeleyside
Nonviolent civil disobedience is a powerful tool to protest unjust laws or policies. Inspired by the teachings of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., our students are continuing this tradition. Across the country, students formed peace signs, held rallies, and led marches in their communities.
"We're sick of it," said Maxwell Nardi, a senior at Douglas S. Freeman High School in Henrico, Virginia, just outside Richmond. "We're going to keep fighting, and we're not going to stop until Congress finally makes resolute changes." (Newsela)
If your teens are interested in political protests, share Congressman John Lewis's graphic novel memoir series March. The combination of stark illustrations, quick-moving panels and personal voice creates an intense and accessible memoir. The account starts with a conversation with two young visitors in Lewis' congressional office just prior to Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration, and then uses flashbacks to Lewis's childhood and formative years with Dr. King.

Creating political change requires more than marching. We need to encourage our students to write to political leaders and express their views. These don't need to be long letters, but they need to express their personal views. As John Lewis's coauthor Andrew Aydin writes in an essay introducing March: 30 Postcards to Make Change and Good Trouble,
"Human beings are social animals. We need human interaction... If you're trying to change someone's mind, you need to be personal; you need to establish a connection to share your ideas. You need to make sure a very real part of you shows up to make sure your voice and your ideas are heard."
Aydin's essay is powerful, personal and will reach young people. I'm excited to share these postcards with students at our library. We'll mail any postcard they write to their legislators.
Check out these quick tips on writing to your elected officials. Harness the momentum your teens feel and encourage them to continue to be involved.

The review copy of the March postcards was kindly sent by the publisher, Chronicle Books; the copy of March came from my local library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2018 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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