On Saturday March, 24th there was a March For Our Lives rally in Washington D.C. and across the United States. This was in response to one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history; where 17 students were gun down at a high school in Parkland, Florida. While some were arguing about the size of the rally…like that really mattered, it’s significance was on a enormous scale. The reason? Because it wasn’t organized by adults. It organized by the survivors of the shooting: The students!! So what was the issue? They believed that the state and federal government has taken a lackadaisical approach to protecting the future leaders of America from gun violence. So the question for us today is: Do the voices of teenagers really matter on such a polarizing topic as such. Let’s just ask Sarah Parker Redmond.
Sarah was no stranger to activism. She (and her 7 other siblings) grew up around abolitionists. In fact, Sarah’s home was used as a safe haven for many black and white abolitionists in Massachusetts. While her family had successful businesses, they still experienced racism and segregation in the North. In 1830, Sarah and a few of her sibling had been expelled from school.
She was quoted as saying,
“We had been expelled from the school on the sole ground of our complexion”
Despite this, Sarah’s parents believed in the importance of education. Sarah was mostly self-taught: tearing through books, pamphlets, and newspapers —mostly borrowed or purchased from friends who were from the anti-slavery society in her community. Attending concerts and lectures also allowed her to gain a wealth of knowledge. This is where it would all begin. The expulsion, coupled with the injustice of slavery (and of course growing up in an abolitionist home), it was time for Sarah to become the activist she was born for. Like the students rallying and protesting in Washington, D.C., Sarah wanted to do the same. At the young age of 16, she gave her first speech against slavery at a anti-slavery society rally.
This catapulted her status as an abolitionist and activist. As she became older, Sarah traveled and gave lectures alongside William Lloyd Garrison (and other abolitionists) at several anti-slavery society rallies. She even had the opportunity to travel around Great Britain where she continued the anti-slavery message as well as help raise funds for the effort.
This goes to show that being young doesn’t mean your voice can’t be heard. Just know that being a warrior for injustice won’t come easy.