There were protests across the country at Walmart this morning. The participants are raising the issue of guns being sold at the stores. There was one at the Walmart in Parkland, about ten minutes from my house. I really debated going. I wanted to be there, but also knew that I needed to take a step back for my own mental health. I’m so vocal, so open and so involved in so many social causes. I just couldn’t engage in anything that might have triggered something in me.
Once I decided to continue on with the plans I had already made days before I found out about the protests, I dubbed today #SelfCareSaturday. I got a 90-minute massage and got my nails done. I needed to take some real me-time.
Between my appointments, I met my husband and children for lunch. It was nice to be together, since weekends will become impossibly busy once school is back.
As I sit here to type this, I’m listening to “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam on SiriusXM. I remember when the video for this song premiered on MTV. Their album “Ten” was one of the first CDs I bought when I was 11 (1991). The song is about a boy who is bullied and decides to shoot up his class/school. It was groundbreaking and revolutionary for the time. Such a taboo subject on display on MTV and on the radio. The song came out eight years before Columbine and 27 years before MSD/Parkland. I have always loved this song. I still do. It just means something so different to my today.
I bring this up because Eddie Vedder (who I absolutely LOVE) was at the Everytown/Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Forum in Iowa today. He has been touched by gun violence and has lost friends to suicide via guns. He was there with his wife and daughters, and was a speaker at the event.
I’m so glad that things are moving the needle toward gun reform. I know that we have a long way to go, but the conversations are happening and enough people are fed up with the Republican complacency.
The events of the past week have really taken a toll on me. I’m angry about what happened in El Paso & Dayton. I’m angry that lawmakers have allowed this to go on as long as it has. I’m angry that there have been more mass shootings in 2019 than actual days of 2019.
It really makes me appreciate the work of “Parkland Speaks.” I tweeted this the other day:
I told her for the first time on a podcast with Jim Jordan from Walsworth, but the piece Leni Steinhardt wrote in “Parkland Speaks” was so brave. She called out Marco Rubio directly in a letter to him. She asked what he planned to do to end gun violence. She’s still waiting for an answer.
What she did was brave. It will always be brave. Marco Rubio is cowardly for not responding to a 16 year-old constituent or doing something about gun violence before Parkland or since.
I had a former student come to see me at school on Thursday. Joselyn graduated in June. I had her in Journalism 1 as a junior, and again for English 4 as a senior. Joselyn is also the reason I became the Step Team sponsor. She spent so many hours in my classroom and really looked to me for guidance, help, advise, support, etc. I was so happy to see her. She brought in a copy of “Parkland Speaks.” She purchased it at the local Barnes & Noble. It was one of the ones I signed and left at the store. That wasn’t enough for her. She wanted me to write something personal for her to keep. I was more than happy to oblige.
I hope that people read the book. I hope that people see not only the hard work that went into making it. I hope that people also see that there’s so much more to the book. It’s first-hand accounts of what we went through that day. It’s what we still go through every day. It contains poetry, stories, journal entries, photography and artwork. It’s so much more than *just* a book – it’s a look into what survivors and victims of gun violence go through.
“Parkland Speaks,” is published by Random House, and is available online and wherever books are sold.