Yesterday, on the month anniversary of the massacre by a 19-year old using a semi-automatic style weapon at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which left 17 dead and 14 injured, students all over the United States walked out of class to protest gun violence and to demand action by their lawmakers. These clear, young eyes see the NRA’s emasculation of the GOP, the party which controls all three branches of our federal government and 33 state houses across the USA. They see that the best the GOP president can do is host a roundtable discussion about violent video games after the NRA made him walk back his gun control comments. I’ve heard and read “grown-ups” criticizing students for meddling in issues they do not understand and insinuating that the protesters only wanted to get out of classes, but possibly those “grown-ups” know a very different kind of student than I know. I applaud the students who organized demonstrations of all sorts yesterday and who intend to demand more from the rest of us to end gun violence with gun control.
I was very proud of my girl yesterday. She wore orange and took part in the 17 minute walk out at school. She wanted to join the bigger demonstration that bussed to East High and walked to the State House, and she understood why doing the longer walk out was not supportable even though “all” the other kids at school are doing it. I was also very grateful that there was an alternative for her and that her case manager supported her decision.
And last night, was another West High choir concert! The oh-so-many-singers wearing tiny orange ribbons get better with each concert! So many lovely voices, such good music! Mr. Anthony Can, the director, rocks!
Julia did very well. Like everything else in her life, to succeed at chorus singing has taken more than the usual amount of practice. We’ve been working on Mr. Cao’s three guidelines: 1. Stand still. 2. Watch Mr. Cao. 3. Sing, don’t talk. Mr. Cao and I came up with these guidelines after the last concert when Julia was pretty challenged to stand still like the rest of the kids and watch him. The third guideline has more to do with in-class work. So since November, we’ve talked a lot about the guidelines and before school most mornings, we do a standing meditation to learn what standing still feels like in our bodies. The result last night was a still standing child during three of the four songs her choir sang. The fourth song was a hip-hop spiritual that Julia had to do a bit of dancing to–who could blame her? And when I saw her afterwards, she was proud of herself. And rightly so!