VOX ATL contributor and North Atlanta High School senior Roya Register participated in her school’s protest during National Walkout Day. She also spoke during the demonstration. She is sharing her speech exclusively with VOX ATL.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Roya, and I’m a senior. I first want to stress how thankful Adenike, Jessica, Chandler, Student Government and I are to have you here with us today — regardless of your reason for walking out.
Until recently, choosing to be indifferent toward controversy was the path I chose concerning contentious subject matters. It was an easy way to avoid uncomfortable situations. While I understand the reasons why it’s hard to involve yourself in things happening around you, especially when the majority of us can’t vote yet, it is ultimately an essential aspect in shaping the future of our country.
When the time comes where we are able to vote, it’s important we exercise the right knowledgeably. My goal here today is not to make a political statement, but rather to emphasize the importance in using your voice and having an open mind when it comes to opinions that differ from yours. Not only with gun control, but all things. This nation will only continue to further divide if we don’t acknowledge and respect the fact that not everyone is like-minded.
We are fortunate to live in a country that was founded upon freedom of speech, among other things, and should see this as a privilege — one that shouldn’t be abused. Progress will never be made unless we can work toward becoming a country where citizens discuss controversy in a civil manner. This is the goal I have for us, seeing as we are the future of this country.
Get involved and educate yourself on the happenings of the world. We cannot continue to rely on others to be change makers when we are just as capable, if not more, of making the change we want to see.
Roya, 18, attends North Atlanta High School.