Sonoma County, California — Driving through small-town Sebastopol on March 14 toward the Senior Center, this 73-year-old noticed groups of young students with signs gathering on downtown street corners and waving to motorists. These active participants in direct democracy joined thousands who walked out of schools across the U.S. and the world, organized by the Women’s March Youth branch.
As I got closer to the students, a variety of feelings, thoughts, and memories emerged. Tears of appreciation began to drip from my eyes, as I learned why they were protesting.
Then I smiled at them and flashed the peace sign, as I used to during the active 1960s. I eventually resigned my U.S. Army officer’s commission to join the marches that finally helped end the American wars on the people of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Spending a short time in jail, before being released — since I was merely expressing my First Amendment freedom of speech — was worth it.
I’m proud of our middle and high school students, as well as others, for non-violently standing up to defend their generation against those who continue to shoot innocent youth and others in Florida and elsewhere. “Lives matter more than guns. Enough is enough!” were among the signs.
Many teachers and administrators supported students wanting to join the brief marches. California Rep. Mike Thompson created a video, which schools are showing, where he encourages students to “stand up and speak out”…