Every Thursday night at 8 pm I start the Y5Countdown by saying "this is my favorite night of the week!!!" and anyone that listens knows Thursday's are reserved for our high schools!
We call it YHigh and each week we invite a different high school from South Florida to take over Y100 and host the Y5 Countdown, play games, give away tickets, do shout outs, and just have fun.
It's because of this that I've grown so close to the high school community in South Florida. And not only do we let them take over my show but sometimes they let us take over their schools for pep rallies, homecomings, and proms!
Knowing all that you can only imagine the devastation we felt when we saw the shooting at Stoneman Douglas... It hit close to home...
The first thing that popped in my head was "those are my kids, I know them! I've been to that school!" and like everyone else I felt helpless. What could I do aside from watch is it unfold?
I did my job that night providing updates and directing people to blood drives but I needed to do more. Question was, what exactly could I do?
The answer came to me after watching students like Emma, David, and Cameron on TV and on social media openly expressing what they think the solution to the problem was. They like many other students, teachers, and parents have had enough of this senseless violence in school, and rightfully so.
I realized that I needed to give these students another platform to voice their opinions. They have quickly become the heroes and faces of change with the #NeverAgain movement and I knew that I had to offer up what I had to them... My voice.... and I don't mean physically speaking, I mean the voice I have every night that is heard by thousands upon thousands.
So everyone here at Y100 did just that. We not only invited the students of Stoneman Douglas to come and speak but we surprised them by have students from high schools all over South Florida great them with love and support and together we all crammed into this studio together, in solidarity, to talk about how we could prevent any more tragedies from happening.
Below is the entire Facebook live that starts before the students of Stoneman Douglas walk in and goes on through the entire show. You'll notice that these students didn't argue or bicker, they didn't curse people out in anger over what happened to them...as a matter of fact they even showed respect to representatives that don't seem to support their cause and thanked them for their time and service to the community.
I can honestly say that these students right here make me believe that the future is bright. Things are going to change and these students truly are the leaders of tomorrow. They are intelligent and eloquent speakers who again showed the upmost respect for each other as well as those in the system that they are battling with.
We've heard a lot of these kids and many others talk about this in the last few days but it seems everyone in the room agreed on many things.
First off, none of these students felt safe with teachers having guns on them. Even a teacher who was in the room said she wasn't into the idea.
I also asked them how they felt about metal detectors and kevlar backpacks. Their response in a nutshell: These are not things we should be worried about. What we need to have are preventative measures that won't even allow for anyone to get a weapon and attempt to enter a school with it.
This of course led into the topic of gun control. After hearing there responses everyone in the room collectively agreed that they don't want to take weapons away from individuals they just want to make it more difficult for people to get them when they shouldn't have them. In other words, much stronger background checks, maybe required courses to get certified, and maybe even doctors notes that say you are mentally stable enough to own a weapon.
Now, one of my favorite things that I personally heard tonight was a student say something along the lines of "this isn't about parties and your voting shouldn't be about picking a party. It should be about picking the person that has your best interest in mind regardless of whether they are republican or democrat." Of course that led me to ask the questions, "Do you guys feel your representatives have done everything they should to protect you guys?"
The answer was a collective no. That's where we discussed the need for people to get involved in voting and in contacting your representatives. These students from the day the shooting happened got to work "spamming" their representatives and some were heard and had the opportunity to meet with them.
Another big issue they really wanted to touch upon was mental health. They felt that not enough of that topic was addressed in the CNN Town Hall so they expressed their thoughts on how schools need more guidance counselors and more access to help for mental issues that could prevent someone from doing something horrific like what happened at Stoneman Douglas.