Hello Everyone. My name is Halima Ibrahim. I am a 10th grader at the Islamic School of Rhode Island and the youth representative for Women’s March Rhode Island.
When I originally sat down to write this speech, I found it very difficult to get my words out in a way that accurately expressed my opinions on the subject of gun control and safe schools. I was left with a blank piece of paper, unable to produce a single word. My hand itched to write but my mind kept quiet.
So I decided to do the thing I usually do when I am deeply angry or passionate about a topic: I write a poem. Once I shifted my thinking, the words started to flow, seemingly endless. I was left with this, what I hope to be a wake up call to our country’s government officials and citizens, to let them know we mean business and we demand change.
You know the saying “When life give you lemons, make lemonade”?
Well , “When life gives you mass shootings, make stronger gun laws.”
Australia understands that,
so does Canada and the UK
So why can’t our government? Because we have a piece of paper written 227 years ago giving people the ability to own weapons, in a time where there was no police force,
When people had to hunt for their own food,
and rifles could only shoot 3 rounds per minute with the maximum accuracy of 50 meters.
But Today an AR-15 can shoot up to 45 rounds per minute, with the maximum accuracy range of 550 meters.
Here’s an idea,
Since gun technology has developed , how about our laws develop with it?
Our parents did not have to worry about school shootings when they were kids. There were no lock down drills.
Instead they’d ‘duck and cover’ under their desks, preparing for the event of an atomic bomb.
Both of these drills have one thing in common:
They do not fully prepare students for the actual horrors of the events.
But name ONE tragedy in the US that involved an atomic bomb.
Instead there has been 21 Mass shootings in 2018 alone, three months in, when there should be none.
Students shouldn’t have to fear for their lives.
Especially in school, the place where we’re told if we don’t go, we won’t succeed,
That we won’t have a good life,
That we won’t amount to anything.
Kids spend more of their time in school than at their own homes, so why is it so hard for you to keep us safe?
More guns will do nothing to help.
They will not protect us.
Guns are only tools of destruction, used to take lives away.
They say “letting more good guys have guns will decrease the amount of bad guys with guns,” but how are we supposed to tell the difference between them?
What is there to stop us from focusing on the weapon in hand, not the wielder?
Whether your intention is to defend or harm by firing, you are still taking someone’s life away.
That is not a good thing
And what gives you the right, to decide who’s life is worth living and who’s better off dead?
How many kids of color have been killed just walking down the street, just because some white guy felt threatened?
How many parents have lost their children?
How many have watched their friends and family die?
How many more will die?
Fighting fire with fire will only cause more fire
To allow more guns is to allow more deaths
Giving teachers guns in schools, just normalizes the idea of school shootings
It Makes it a thing we have to worry about
Makes it more common than it should be
Makes it something we’re supposed to expect,
Instead of stopping it all together.
School shootings are not an old thing.
It wasn’t something people needed to worry about
DO NOT LET THIS BECOME NORMAL
How many children need to die at the barrel of a gun for the NRA to realize that THEY are the problem?
That they have blood on their hands?
Trump says we need better mental health services
And yes I agree,
But do not blame this tragedy on mental health, because If the shooter was Black, Latino, or Muslim you would of called him a terrorist.
The problem is not the person, but the gun.
Countless tragedies will continue to occur until the laws are stronger.
Until the rules are stricter.
No civilian should EVER be able to purchase a weapon of war.
Especially someone as young as 18.
“No” is NOT an option!
Why does our government prioritize protecting inanimate objects over citizens lives?
My mother raised me to be a Revolutionary
The word “revolution” has presented itself in almost every part of my life.
I am proud and sometimes ashamed to call myself a daughter of the revolutionary war
I was still in a stroller when I went to my first rally.
I witnessed firsthand the citizens of Egypt take to the streets in an attempt to fight political injustice in 2011, causing the country to almost go war torn.
Tanks patrolling the streets.
Gunshots being heard outside our windows
Military and police attacking protesters.
If you were to tell me 7 years ago that I would even be taking part in this movement, this revolution, this Children’s Crusade, I would have told you that you were crazy.
Because little nine year old me, didn’t think it possible to get over PTSD
With each new Shooting,
I know that on the Fourth of July, there’s going to be a new group of kids hiding in their rooms with pillows over their ears and tears streaming down their faces,
because the fireworks will sound a lot more like gunshots than of freedom.
Listen to the young people,
Include us in political discussions,
Let us have a voice,
We know more than you give us credit for.
WE ARE NOT PROPS
After all we are the next generation of lawmakers and politicians,
Doctors and scientists,
Military and police officers
You’re leaving the country in our hands
Soon it’s going to be us calling the shots.
AND THERE WILL BE NO MORE SHOT