Who hasn’t heard of the narcissistic, vapid young people trope? These people, we hear, are not abreast of current issues. Purportedly, they do not care about others. They are tethered to their smart-phones but do not read books. While many Millennials are familiar with how young people can be miscast as society’s primary scapegoats, the next generation, the Plurals, is making their political presence felt.

But as America reels from the Parkland shooting, students from the South Florida community emerged from the shadows of grief like phoenixes. These students stated their expectations: Decision-makers must use policy and political power to prevent similar tragedies somewhere else.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior Emma Gonzales tearfully-yet-powerfully called out political complicity. “Politicians who sit in their gilded house and senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call B.S!” 

“We’re going to make sure these debates that happen in the House of Representatives and stuff like that, they go through in our favor to make sure that we are safe. I know there was supposed to be a debate or a talk (on concealed-weapons license applications and background checks), and I know that was postponed today,” Gonzales said. “And I want to make sure that the students who were involved make sure that that talk doesn’t ever happen. That we do not decrease the regulation on guns, that rifles of this caliber are not to be sold.”

Junior Lyliah Skinner called out the quasi-adult status experienced by many teenagers in America—teenagers who can legally purchase military rifles but not legally participate in other “adult” activities. 

“If people can’t purchase marijuana or alcohol at the age of 18, why should they be given access to guns? I have had this conversation with my friends too many times,” she said. “We shouldn’t have to talk about this. This country needs stricter laws to help prevent other kids, like me and my classmates, from ever having to experience this. Words mean nothing. Actions do.”