Parkland students Cameron Kasky, Jaclyn Corin, David Hogg, Emma González and Alex Wind have been chosen for the annual TIME list of the world’s most influential people and it’s written by former President Barack Obama.
“Speaking truth to power,” Obama writes. “America’s response to mass shootings has long followed a predictable pattern. We mourn. Offer thoughts and prayers. Speculate about the motives. And then—even as no developed country endures a homicide rate like ours, a difference explained largely by pervasive accessibility to guns; even as the majority of gun owners support commonsense reforms—the political debate spirals into acrimony and paralysis.
This time, something different is happening. This time, our children are calling us to account.
The Parkland, Fla., students don’t have the kind of lobbyists or big budgets for attack ads that their opponents do. Most of them can’t even vote yet.”
There is no more perfect person to write about the Parkland students than the President who kept encouraging the American people “Yes, we can” and “This is not about me, it’s about you.”
TIME explained, “Barack Obama, who has said that his greatest frustration as President was the failure of commonsense gun-safety laws, draws inspiration from the Parkland, Fla., teenagers who organized the March for Our Lives: ‘They have the power … to reject the old constraints, outdated conventions and cowardice too often dressed up as wisdom.'”
TIME’s annual list of the world’s most influential people is a list of individuals whose time, the magazine feels, is now.
President Obama ran on hope and change. The former president led from the belief that citizens needed to be engaged and bringing their passion to their leaders to make change. Presidents and lawmakers can act on change with the support and involvement of the people. The people are the power, when they chose to seize it. And the Parkland students have done just that.
It takes hope to participate in demanding change. That is why Republicans mocked “Hope and change” so much — because it works. It gives the people power.