To All Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Students—
Some of you have experienced grief before, but for many of you, this is the entry into an unwanted membership of a terrible club. Sometimes the easiest part is actually at the beginning, after the terrible first shock—the rituals and mutual support can give us strength through the early days. Then at some point, the outside world thinks we’ve “moved on,” that we’ve “found closure.” People worry about upsetting you by asking how you’re doing, and fall silent. And that time after all of the rituals can feel very lonely.
However, you are taking your grief and doing something powerful with it. Your forthright way of speaking out, of demanding change, is breaking the mold of all of the other mass shootings. And I want you to know that, even if you don’t see us, don’t hear us, we hear you. We’re listening. We’re watching. And you have more support here than you can imagine. So, ignore the hatred as much as you can. Remember that fear is often the motivation for hate. Carry on through the days when it feels as though nobody is listening. You’re doing something new, something unprecedented.
We ARE listening.
Brian Lies, Picture Book Author/Illustrator