I didn’t expect to feel such emotion this morning. I bicycled to our capitol building in Boise, Idaho, to watch students participate in National Student Walkout Day, an event whose purpose is to raise awareness about school shootings. It has been one month, today, since the devastating and senseless school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
I’m a lousy guesser at estimating how many people were in attendance… perhaps 800? More? Prior to my arrival at the capitol building, I imagined there would be about 50 students. I parked my bike next to those of other onlooking adults and made my way closer to the steps of the capitol building, weaving my way through students, young children, dogs, police officers, security guards, and more bikes (we do bikes well in Boise).
The mass of students on the steps were chanting something. It took me a moment to discern their words. “This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!”
And this is the part that I didn’t anticipate: I welled up with tears and a lump formed instantly in my throat.
I felt surprisingly emotional seeing young people engaging with current events – current events that feel frighteningly pertinent to them. Understandably, they want their voice to be heard. And counted.
Our mission at Upward Motion, and the goal of our Life Elevated podcast, is to inspire people to make their lives, and the lives of those around them, better. And this is precisely the desire and effort I was witnessing. It was a mass (by Idaho standards) of humanity joining forces and linking arms to stand up and be noticed, to count, to matter, to make a difference. To make a difference. TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
This – a group of students chanting and waving homemade signs – this is what democracy looks like. It is people (all types of people) speaking up, peaceably assembling, putting forth their concerns to their elected representatives. This word, democracy, comes from ancient Greek. “Demos” means “the people” and “kratos” means “to rule.” Democracy means that the people (that’s us) are entitled to have their voices and opinions heard to help influence important decisions that affect their lives.
And so, Life Elevated friends, we can take a lesson from the youth today. We can use our voices to stand up for things we believe in, for causes important to us, with the goal of making our world a better place.
I biked home with a deeper resolve to make my little corner of the world just a little bit better in whatever ways I can.
Won’t you join me?