To the students marching in Washington D.C, and across the country tomorrow: an open letter from Reshma Saujani, CEO and founder of Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization that aims to boost the number of women in computer science fields.
If there’s any generation that sets us free, it will be yours. If there’s any generation that achieves real lasting change for our country, it will be yours. You are change-makers. You are revolutionaries. You are patriots.
You are the most diverse generation in American history–and that diversity is reflected in your movements, in your insistence that they include the experiences of all people no matter their race, sexuality, gender, ability, or economic status. You are also the most digitally savvy generation in American history. To you, tech is not just about convenience or distraction–it’s a tool to complement community and create change (or the ultimate clapback!).
You have the ideals and you have the tactics necessary to transform our world. Combine these with your poise, endurance and anger–and you are a force to be reckoned with.
I’ve seen your power and potential up close, watching girls use code to address the water crisis in Flint, Michigan… combat period shaming… or even develop gun control technology, like Girls Who Code alumni Nastasia Efremkina.
And I’ve seen it on a national scale, watching your generation lead some of our most transformative social justice movements–changing the way we talk about police brutality with Black Lives Matter, amplifying one another’s voices with #MeToo, fighting to #DefendDACA for our Dreamers. You’ve proclaimed #LoveIsLove, #MyBodyMyChoice, and #NoDAPL.
It’s been just over a month since the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas and we’re already seeing the transformative power of #NeverAgain.
In Florida, Governor Rick Scott broke with the NRA to pass the state’s first gun control legislation in more than 20 years. In Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey, lawmakers are considering bills to keep guns away from people who pose a threat to themselves and others. Politicians nationwide are finally waking up, realizing just how powerful you are–and just how vulnerable their jobs are.
Tomorrow, millions of you will take to the streets. As you march, remember what Marjorie Stoneman Douglas once wrote: “Be a nuisance where it counts, but don’t be a bore at any time. Do your part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action. Be depressed, discouraged and disappointed at failure and the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption and bad politics—but never give up.”
Be a nuisance tomorrow, and in the days and months after. And when you begin to feel depressed, discouraged or disappointed—remember all that you’ve already achieved. Remember that tomorrow you march, in November, you vote; and soon, you’ll run for office yourselves.
My 3-year-old son Shaan will march with me tomorrow. I want him there to see history in the making, even if it is from atop his dad’s shoulders. I know it won’t be long before I can sit with him over homework, show him photos from that day, and tell him the story of the kids who marched for our lives.
Thank you for your resilience, determination, and courage. Thank you for stepping up to call for change–though no one would blame you for stepping back to grieve. Thank you for fighting like hell so that this never happens again.
It will be an honor to march with you tomorrow.
Yours in this fight, always, #IWillMarch,
CEO and Founder of Girls Who Code
Published via Elle.com