by Walter Dean Myers
Harper Teen, 1999
Printz Award winner
National Book Award Finalist
Tomorrow marks the one month anniversary of the tragic massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
Marjory was a humanitarian, a suffragist, an environmentalist. She was an activist before the word was even invented.
Serendipity worked in Marjory’s life, just as it does in so many of our lives. Even though her father was not part of her life as she was growing up, they ended up in the same place at the same time. Marjory completed her studies in journalism and looked for a career as Frank Stoneman, her father, acquired ownership of the Miami Herald through a serendipitous route of his own.
A great movement was underway to drain the swamp (The Everglades) to make room for more development and more people. Frank saw how wrongheaded the plans were and editorialized about them.
Marjory learned the science of how the Everglades works to provide fresh water for all of South Florida. She wrote of it, too. A best-seller called Everglades: River of Grass. And she spoke of it to anyone who would listen long after the book was published.
Marjory’s activism stopped great harm. Although the Everglades continues to fight for its life against pollution and over-development, Marjory led a movement to call attention to a problem and mobilized friends and acquaintances to save a whole ecosystem.
She would be proud of the student activists at her High School. Armed with hashtags, forward thinking, and determination, they have begun a national, even international, movement.
People are talking about guns. People are asking hard questions.
People (and companies) are beginning to stand up to the NRA.
So maybe even a killer, full of fear and hate and intent on doing harm, can be the impetus for great good.
There’s fabulous irony in that. Irony not lost on the great kids, teachers, administrators, and alumnae of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, activists all.
--stay curious (and involved!)