Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior Cameron Kasky vividly recalls the moment he committed himself to take action. He was in a car driving away from his school that had just become a bloody crime scene, and vowed: No more.
"I’ve seen this happen countless times," Kasky told an audience at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government Tuesday. "What happens is we get two weeks in the news, we get a bundle of thoughts and prayers, everyone sends flowers."
Then the flowers wilt, and people forget and move on, he says. But not this time. He and a half dozen fellow students felt compelled to change the script.
"We said no, you’re not controlling our narrative," Kasky said. "You are not telling our story. We see what’s going on here. The entire United States, we see what’s going on here. We see past this facade that this is inevitable and this is the price of our freedom."
As Kasky and six of his fellow student activists sat on a small stage, they said they were humbled their movement has caught on and tangibly began affecting gun laws.
Still, he said, "It’s easy to feel guilty that we have this platform and others that face this tragedy every single day don’t. But we have to forgive ourselves for that and represent everyone. We have this spotlight, and we need to shine it on the people who are too often ignored."
And they're attracting compatriots -- fellow students throughout the country in whom they've planted the seeds of political activism.
"I really saw a lot of myself in them, said Tea Baum, a 16-year-old sophomore from Newton North High School, who wants to carry the message to her community. "I've been trying to get students to share their opinions and not stop the conversation."
And that conversation will continue as soon as this weekend.
Baum said she will attend this Saturday's scheduled March For Our Lives, a nationwide protest march inspired by the actions of the Parkland students.
Kasky says his group will also be marching, in the nation's capitol.
"For the first time in a very long time I’m looking 10 years from now and I’m hopeful," he said. "I see a bright future in which everything isn’t falling apart, but everyone is coming together."
But, he adds, there still is a long way to go.
This segment aired on March 21, 2018.
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