A reminder to vote

by | Oct 22, 2018 | Other News

The murders at Parkland High School last winter changed my life. It really hit home after that tragedy when my local dance group watched a video of another team from Florida that originally included 15-year-old Jamie Gutenberg, who was murdered along with 17 other students and staff members that February day.

We were in Chrysler Hall for a competition that Jamie’s Florida team had previously attended, huddled together with tears streaming down our faces as the video, with Jamie’s spot empty, played. Every dancer, choreographer, judge, and parent had an orange ribbon clipped to his or her chest in Jamie’s memory.

Before Parkland, I had, like most of my generation, an “it won’t happen to me” attitude. Now I am asking, how many more lives need to be sacrificed before change occurs? These classmates, friends, teammates were murdered by war-like weapons in their own school! I looked around at my own “dance mates” with whom I have laughed, cried, sweated, and leaned on. I could not imagine the pain I would feel if one of them died this way.

I’m only 17 and cannot yet vote to help make a change. So I’m using this letter to encourage every young adult who can vote to be the voice for me, for Jamie and the others who perished at Parkland. Change is only acquired through participation, and as young adults, this is our chance to protect our peers, our future children, our siblings. This is our chance to make a difference in our country, but we need your vote to do so!

I’m NOT against the 2nd Amendment, but our founding fathers did not expect mentally unstable 19-year-olds to randomly murder teens while they were in class. So please vote on November 6 to make our schools and my fellow teens across America safer.

Brianna Arluk is a 17-year-old senior at First Colonial High School. The daughter of Shaye and Glen Arluk, she is a member of BBYO and Ohef Sholom Temple.