Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two weeks, you will have noticed that the world is on fire. After the 18th mass shooting at a school in the US, the students demand action. The government fights back by accusing the students of being actors. They come up with solutions that do not solve anything. They protect their own interest over the lives of these kids. Yet these teenagers are fighting back. No longer do they accept their fate and die because adults fail to protect them. And these politicians are taken aback by the sudden rise of teenage leaders. But it is no surprise that these kids are fighting now. This is a generation that has grown up with stories like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. But how much influence do these stories have?
Teenagers can save the world
Since the Harry Potters books were published, we’ve continuously exposed teenagers to stories in which they are the hero. After the release of the Twilight series, young adult stories became more and more popular. At first the stories centered around vampires, but later dystopian fiction became a massive genre. In the Hunger Games we saw how a reluctant Katniss became the face of a rebellion after teenagers were forced to murder each other in an arena.
Divergent is also about a dystopian city and teenagers who rebel against a corrupt government. These stories show that yes, there will be sacrifice. But if adults do not stand up and fight, teenagers have no choice. The future belongs to them. They are the leaders, the doctors, the teachers and the warriors of tomorrow. They have a voice and through these stories, either in print or on the big screen, they have learned that they can be heard, that they can fight and that they can be victorious.
The Real World Imitates Fiction
Let’s take a look at the Harry Potter novels and see how real life imitates fiction. For those of you who do not know, the story is about a young boy who is attacked by an evil wizard, yet survives. We could see the school shootings as a real life version of this. While the teenagers are not babies, they still survive an attack by an evil person. Harry does the same, time and time again.
Everybody believes Voldemort to be dead after this. Yet Harry witnesses the rebirth of Voldemort in the fourth book. In the fifth book, Harry speaks out about what is going on, yet nobody believes him. In fact, the government is against him. They are trying to portray him and everybody who supports him as a liar. Sounds familiar? In the end, there is no denying that Voldemort is back. Spoiler alert: Harry and friends, you know, those teenagers, come out victorious.
Not just fantasy
In the past few months we’ve also seen the release of YA contemporary fiction that has inspired teenagers to fight back. Most notably the 2017 novel The Hate U Give. It goes to show that not only fantasy fiction can inspire teens to be a hero. THUG was inspired by the murder of Oscar Grant. The book shows that even though some might deny the truth, it is important to keep fighting for it. If you don’t make a change, then nobody will. The book is inspiring because Starr, the protagonist, is an ordinary girl put in a position she doesn’t want to be in. She had to witness the murder of her unarmed friend. She faces a system of injustice. And even though she is scared, she fights against it. If you don’t fight, you’ve already lost after all.
Why we should support them
The teenagers who have risen from their grief have proven to be incredible leaders. These teenagers have shown that they are smart and gracious in dealing with opposition. They are not just fighting for themselves. They are fighting for a better world. These kids are protecting their right to live after watching their friends die. This is the new generation of warriors. And we are proud that we can witness them using their talents for the good.
If you want to help, on March 24th, the March4OurLives will be held in Washington DC.