“Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
There have been three major violent attacks in the United States in the past six weeks. A shooter in Las Vegas killed 58 people and injured 546 others attending a music festival. In another attack, in New York City, a man murdered eight people and injured 12 using a rented truck from Home Depot to plow into them. Last Sunday, a man killed 26 and injured 20 people attending Sunday services at a church in a small town in Texas. As humans sharing the world, it is hard to believe how commonplace violence is, whether in the form of a “lone shooter” or as an “act of terrorism.” Instead of feeling the shock and horror we should, we have almost become numb in reaction to these outrageous and revolting events.
As a 17-year-old, I have never known a time in America where there wasn’t violence. I was just 1 year old when the 9/11 attacks happened. I have lived through many acts of violence, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012. That same year, Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African- American from Florida, was fatally shot, ironically, by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Whether it’s a mass attack, mass shooting or the killing of one person, the action is violence and the result is the same—death. And we are left asking ourselves, “Why?” What can we do about it?
As teens, we don’t have to feel powerless. There are things we can do. One thing we can do is to raise awareness about religion and racism. Interfaith programs at our churches, synagogues, mosques and temples can help promote goodwill and understanding through diversity. By seeing that we share faith in a higher power and working together for the greater good, we promote understanding. Programs like Harvard University’s The Pluralism Project runs the Interfaith Youth Leadership Coalition in the St. Paul, Minn., area, where “teens work together to nurture interfaith understanding, reduce prejudice and misunderstanding, and act together on common values through service and justice to transform their worlds. In the process, these young people are empowered to be capable interfaith leaders, both within their own communities and beyond.” This program includes many community-based events like a gardening service as well as leadership workshops for the teens. Having more programs like this one, throughout the United States and the world, will help cultivate more understanding leadership and promote greater understanding among different religions.
Teens can also raise awareness of gun violence. Events such as Seattle, Washington’s “Teens Against Guns Youth Summit,” hosted by the Atlantic Street Center, are a way to bring teens together to actively support the anti-gun movement at a grassroots level. Programs like these can help empower teens to help them realize they can be proactive in ending the cycle of violence.
Another way teens can use their voice to denounce violence and terror is through social media. When she was challenged by another student to prove there were Muslims who condemned violence in the name of Islam, Heraa Hashmi, a 19-year-old college student at the University of Colorado Boulder, decided to make a list of all the Muslim groups that did. According to a November 2016 Teen Vogue article, “ The result was Worldwide Muslims Condemn List — a spreadsheet with 5,720 instances of Muslim groups and leaders denouncing various acts of terrorism.” Her Twitter account generated 12,000 re-tweets and the list has been made into an interactive website called www.muslimscondemn.com. Her idea led to a resource for anyone to access the information.
Whether coming together in an interfaith group, rallying at an anti-gun youth summit or using social media to create awareness against violence, teens have a voice. Gun violence and terror attacks need to end in my generation. Maybe Mr. Rogers (Fred Rogers), said it best: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ ” We, as teens, need to be those helpers.
Donald Trump has called global warming a "hoax" on multiple occasions.True
Donald Trump’s stated views on global warming have changed over the past seven years or so (we’ll leave it to pundits to judge whether they’ve “evolved” or “devolved” in that time), as exemplified, on the one hand, by his endorsement of a 2009 letter urging the U.S. government to invest in a “clean energy economy” and pass legislation addressing the “immediate challenge” of climate change, and, on the other, by his November 2012 tweet stating that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” (Contrary to rumor, Trump did not attempt to delete that tweet years after the fact.)
Trump’s current position, as clarified by his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, in a 27 September 2016 interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, is that climate change exists but is “naturally occurring.”
CAMEROTA: He believes in climate change?
CONWAY: That there are shifts naturally occurring.
CAMEROTA: He doesn’t believe it’s man-made?
CAMEROTA: So he believes that the idea that it’s man-made is a hoax?
CONWAY: No, I didn’t say that.
CAMEROTA: I mean, he said it. I’m repeating his tweet. So he believes that that part is a hoax.
CONWAY: He believes that climate change is naturally occurring.
While Conway pointedly evaded questions about Trump’s previously claiming that global warming is a hoax, the candidate himself adamantly denied having made such claims during his first debate against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016:
CLINTON: “They’ve looked at my plans and they’ve said, OK, if we can do this, and I intend to get it done, we will have 10 million more new jobs, because we will be making investments where we can grow the economy. Take clean energy. Some country is going to be the clean-energy superpower of the 21st century. Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it’s real.”
TRUMP: “I did not. I did not. I do not say that.”
CLINTON: “I think science is real.”
TRUMP: “I do not say that.”
But Trump has, in fact, said just that. Here, from the public record, in his own words, are instances of Donald Trump calling global warming a hoax (and more colorful things):
Nelson, Louis and Elana Schor. “Trump Adviser Denies Climate Change Is Manmade.”
Politico. 27 September 2016.
Revkin, Andrew. “A Glaring Climate Shift Joins Trump’s Long Line of Flip-Flops.”
The New York Times. 8 June 2016.
Worland, Justin. “Donald Trump Supported Addressing Climate Change Before Calling It a ‘Hoax.'”
Time. 9 June 2016.
New Day (CNN). “Interview with Kellyanne Conway.”
27 September 2016.