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August 20, 2019

If it Feels like Words aren’t Enough when it comes to the Gun Violence Epidemic, let this Dance speak for You.

 

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I was a sophomore in high school when the mass shooting at Columbine High School occurred.

I remember my mom picking me up from school and listening to the newscaster report the story on the car radio. I remember watching footage of that teenage boy crawling out of the window as SWAT members tried to help him escape.

I remember that there had been a few other school shootings in the months leading up to Columbine, but in my teenage brain I assumed that the death of 12 students and one teacher, and 20-plus students being injured, would be enough for the government—both state and federal—to do something to keep this from ever happening again.

But it did happen again. At other schools. At movie theaters. At concerts. At mosques. At temples. At clubs. At Walmarts.

At places we go to every day. At places where we’re supposed to be free and safe.

And still, no change. Lots of talk, tons of thoughts and prayers, loads of in-fighting and political back-and-forth, but no change.

At times, it can feel like words are a waste of time. Like all our shouting and begging and demanding leads to nothing. Like all the time we spend and the words we share in an effort to speak up for the victims of gun violence, who can no longer speak for themselves, is falling on deaf ears.

But nothing in me believes that that’s a reason to stop shouting. No matter who we are, we need to find a way to let our thoughts and feelings be heard—even, and especially, if that’s through art.

This week, the top 10 dancers on “So You Think You Can Dance” performed a heartbreaking routine about the gun violence epidemic, set to Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times” and choreographed by Emmy Award-winner Travis Wall.

For two minutes, I could feel myself holding my breath, trying not to feel it all—by the end, I was in tears.

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“We never learn, we’ve been here before
Why are we always stuck and running from
The bullets?
The bullets.”

~ Harry Styles, “Sign of the Times”

 

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