Legacy of Marjory Stoneman Douglas
“Be a nuisance when it counts.
Do your part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action.
Be depressed, discouraged, & disappointed at failure & the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption & bad politics -
but never give up.”
~ Marjory Stoneman Douglas ~
Marjory Stoneman Douglas died in 1998, at the age of 108. A long life, well-lived, can leave a lasting legacy. She was a respected political activist, journalist, author and feminist, most known for her determined fight to protect the Florida Everglades, that is, until February 14, 2018.
That’s when her name became headline news again, but for tragic reasons. A lone gunman entered the school bearing her name, pulled a fire alarm to maximize the number of people in the halls, and began shooting to kill. He used a semi-automatic assault rifle, an AR-15, a military-grade weapon. Of the 34 people hit by his bullets, 17 of them died. The shooting was among the 10 deadliest mass shootings in United States history, and it re-ignited national debates about gun control.
One month after the shooting, a student-led protest against gun violence was organized. All across the United States, students walked out of their schools for 17 minutes – one minute for each person killed as a result of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The rallying cry, #ENOUGH, signified their outrage at the politics and system that continues to fail to protect victims of gun violence.
If she were alive today, I think Marjory Stoneman Douglas would be proud of the student activists and protesters. They’ve catalyzed their anger and disappointment at the failures that led to this catastrophic shooting, into righteous action, as they press for changes in gun-control laws. Speaking out for changes to be made at every level of government must seem like an overwhelming fight, especially in a country that has deeply entrenched values regarding gun ownership. They've shown a strength, and a type of determination similar to what Douglas demonstrated in her fight to conserve a habitat that many wanted to develop. By standing strong, speaking for the voiceless and continuing to fight against all odds to protect life, the legacy of Marjory Stoneman Douglas lives on.