You say I am too young; too young to be a feminist, too young to be depressed, too young to know my own sexuality, too young to hate, too young to protest, too stupid, too naive. And you are right — I am too young.
I am too young to be scared of bullets ricocheting through my school, embedding themselves in my fellow classmates and having to watch as my best friend’s once bright and hopeful eyes flicker out; knowing I will never be able to hug him again, knowing I will never be able to laugh, smile, or talk with him again, knowing we will never have the chance to apologize for starting the argument we’re in right now, knowing I will never be able to tell him I love him one last time.
I am too young to be scared of being raped by a man while I walk down the street because I can feel his eyes watching me while realizing I should have waited for someone to drive me. Now if something happens to me it’s my fault, but I just wanted to get ahead on schoolwork.
I am too young to be scared of finding my sister’s body cold and lifeless on the bathroom floor with candy-colored pills scattered around her and shoved down her throat since she’d rather go out in a loopy daze than try to withstand and fight the torment… I couldn’t make it in time to stop her.
I am too young to be scared of finding a familiar face on the news because Jordan was black and looked older than his actual age and the white middle-aged cop shot him in “self-defense” even though Jordan was unarmed and innocent. Or because Elias was Muslim and was carrying a “suspicious” bag and was shot and later died because the police officers thought he was a “terrorist” when Elias just wanted to go home to his mom and little sister with a jewelry box to give them.
Too young to be scared of finding my LGBT friends killed, abandoned, or sent off to a conversion camp because all they wanted was love and acceptance but instead they were faced with hate and rejection because they were “sinners” who were just “confused.”
I am too young for homophobia, racism, sexism, rape, suicide, and gun violence to be normalized. I should not be so desensitized to this kind of violent reality. I am too young, but you cannot blame me for my hyper awareness.
My generation was born with information at our fingertips, and we have been told to sit down because adults were talking. You had your chance. It is our turn to speak and our turn to fight. You may have won some battles here and there, but we are the ones who are going to win the war. This rage, misery, and hate is ingrained so deeply in our society, and it’s time for change.
You say we are “too sensitive” because we are “hormonal teenagers who cannot control our emotions” and we therefore “cannot have opinions”, but you can no longer invalidate our claims as we yell for change. Because the death of our classmates and the blood of our friends has paved the path for this revolution.
My generation will be the ones to instill change and bring peace because we grew up in a hating world spiraling into darkness and death. Dying was never our biggest fear. Watching the world burn around us was expected, but we fully intend to repair all the damage you all have so carelessly done.