To the students marching on March 24

Parkland, Florida on February 15, 2018.

You want a very simple thing, as basic as ABC: to be able to go to school without being gunned down.

How did things get to such a horrible state that this should even be an issue?

Don’t get demoralized when the politicians debate this to death. Just by coming out today and marching, you have taken a giant step forward.

You are coming together and doing something about the problem, not just shrinking into yourselves out of sorrow and shock.

You are embracing one another and coming up with ideas, plans, actions to shout out in one voice.

You are creating a MOVEMENT. And by doing that, you are already changing the political landscape.

Your diversity is your great strength. At a time when people of color, migrants, women, the LGBTQ community and vastly underpaid workers are being attacked by the billionaire president and his cronies, trying to pit us against each other, you are affirming the concept of SOLIDARITY.

Your love of life and each other gives you the strength to push back against all who are trying to pull you down.

Why are these terrible things happening in our schools?

We live in dangerous times — the crumbling of an empire, really. An empire built from the beginning on stolen Native land and enslaved African people. The current $700 billion military budget is meant to shore up this dying empire. A huge promotion of police violence saturates our culture. This sends the message that guns and bombs will fix everything.

Armed white supremacists and Nazis parade openly, and the billionaire president won’t condemn them. All this feeds into racist, anti-women, anti-gay fantasies acted upon by young men like Dylann Roof and Nikolas Cruz.

This is not an issue of love versus hate. We can do both. We can love one another and hate all that is meant to divide us. We can love music and kindness and kidding around, and hate exploitation and bigotry. Che Guevara famously said: “The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.” He also fought to make a socialist revolution.

The very future of the world that will be yours, from the polar ice caps to the rising seas, is threatened by the chaotic, profit-driven system of capitalism.

At such a time, can we afford to be less than revolutionaries? Think long about it, dear courageous young people, as you join the struggle to fix the horrible mess this system has made of the world.

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