Guest Column

East Brunswick Student Speaks Before 5,000 at Princeton March for Our Lives

15cc0c85f3313a029c1d_MFOL_Princeton_Vidhya_.PNG
East Brunswick's Vidhya Dhar speaks at the Princeton March for Our Lives Rally on March 24. Credits: personal photo with permission
ba6a2fe9319f1100d8c9_MOFL_Princeton_Crowd.jpg
The crowd in Princeton was estimated at about 5,000 protestors Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
1c08327f83bc9c120edf_Princeton_MFOL_Rally.jpg
Vidhya joined other speakers who presented a variety of reasons to support gun control. Credits: TAPinto East Brunswick
15cc0c85f3313a029c1d_MFOL_Princeton_Vidhya_.PNG

PRINCETON, NJ - In front of about 5,000 people in attendance at the March for Our Lives Rally in Princeton on Saturday, East Brunswick Junior Vidhya Dhar delivered the following speech about the need for increased safety in America's public schools:

Hello everyone. Thank you all for coming. Even though we could not be in Washington, our presence here today clearly shows that we stand together in solidarity with the March for Our Lives Movement.

It has been 19 years since Columbine. Now for Congress that may have just been 19 years of business as usual. 19 years of accomplishing nothing. But for the students, time has passed differently. With every mass shooting that our leaders ignored, schools added an armed guard here, a new ID policy there. The responsibility has fallen on schools to keep the children safe, and as a result they are starting to look more and more like war zones. It’s gotten to the point where we’re asking our teachers, who are supposed to nurture and guide us, to carry guns that could kill their students in a cross-fire.

Sign Up for E-News

This is what life has become like for the mass shooting generation. Not a single member of Congress can understand what we’ve been through, the psychological trauma we had to bear. Not a single member of Congress knows what it’s like to be crouched in a corner, flinching at even the sound of footsteps, praying for the announcement that it was just a drill. Every time there is a school shooting, we fear we could be next, that it could happen here, because after all, Parkland isn’t that different from home.

But I have faith that this time, it is going to be different, because it has to be different. We the children march today because our lives are at stake. We the children march today because our leaders have failed us. We the children march today because this should never happen again.

Even here in New Jersey, although we have an assault weapons ban, we don’t do enough for people with mental illnesses. Of course, an overhaul of the mental health care system will take time, and with a shooting every week this year, the one thing we don’t have is time. So instead, ask your representatives to pass red-flag legislation. This would allow police or family members to initiate a process that would confiscate guns from troubled individuals.

And I would urge Representative Watson Coleman, Congressman Booker, and Senator Menendez to introduce bills in Congress that are stronger than the Stop School Violence Act. Laws that will make schools all across America safer. Because no one is safe until we are all safe.

Congress, we will no longer be ignored. We will no longer be tuned out. We will use our voices and we will speak out together because our lives are at stake here. Come this November the students will come out in thousands, millions to vote.

Although I am afraid, I have faith. I have faith in myself and America’s youth that we will not stand for Congress’s complacency. I have faith that we will hold our elected officials accountable for keeping us safe, because if they do not have the strength to fight the gun lobby, then we will vote them out. If they think that weapons of war should be sold to civilians, then we will vote them out. If they refuse to protect us, if our safety is not their number one priority, then we will vote them out. We will vote them out, because the most powerful weapon for change that we have is our vote. And in November we will vote for our lives!

But let’s remember one very important thing. This is not about red vs. blue. This is about purple; this is about compromise. We need to come together as a community, as a nation, because the only way we can protect our children is if we work together. The world is watching now. No more excuses. It’s time for change. 

Vidhya Dhar

Class of 2019

Member East Brunswick High School Model United Nations

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Milltown/Spotswood

Violent Campus Rapist Sentenced in New Brunswick

May 20, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - While walking across the Rutgers new Brunswick campus two years ago, a young woman was grabbed, viciously beaten, and raped by a middle-aged man from Newark.  She was saved by several students who intervened on her behalf.  Yesterday, her attacker was sentenced to 22 years in prison with no early release possibility.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey ...

Tour of Somerville Weekend: Quarter-Mile Sprints Add High-Speed Dynamic

May 20, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ  - The grand daddy of ‘em  all, the 75-year-old Tour of Somerville 50-mile bicycle race, anchors a weekend of world class cycling in Bound Brook and downtown Somerville May 24-28, with a new event added Sunday night to draw more spectators downtown.

Spectators this year will see an additional day of racing beginning with the Bound Brook Criterium on ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, May 29, 7:00 PM

The Heldrich Hotel, New Brunswick

New Jersey's Environment - A Pivotal Moment: an ...

Sat, June 2, 8:00 PM

East Brunswick

Casino Night & Tricky Tray

Sun, June 10, 9:00 AM

Nomahegan Park, Cranford

Strides4Strength - A Walk to End Domestic Violence

Letter to the Editor: "We Seek Clarity, Support" from Mayor Regarding Development on Summerhill Road

May 10, 2018

Dear Mayor Cohen:  

Thank you.  Your issued statement last night regarding the current development plans for the intersection of Summerhill and Old Stage Roads - which will be under discussion at the May 17 zoning board meeting in East Brunswick, is a welcome voice. 

Like you, we have a vision for East Brunswick and share your desire for smart redevelopment that ...

The ESCNJ Raises $12,000 From 6th Annual 'Autism Awareness' Fundraiser

May 18, 2018

For the 6th straight year,The Educational Services Commission of New Jersey's (ESCNJ) Annual Autism Awareness Swim & Play fundraiser on behalf of Autism New Jersey was a great success.

          Total funds raised were approximately $12,000, as a result of pledges for laps completed, T-shirt sales, and families participating in arts and ...

Will Triple Crown Fever Lead Your Travels to the Belmont Stakes?

May 20, 2018

BALTIMORE, Md. — Ka-Ching! Ka-Ching!

That's the sound of the New York Racing Association's cash register ringing up ticket sales for the June 9 running of the Belmont Stakes that is sure to attract a sell-out crowd.

Racing fans and just plain wannabes will turn out to see Justify, the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Saturday's $1.5 million, Grade 1 ...

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

The Man in Room 306 at the Luna Stage, West Orange, NJ

            The Luna Stage, a Jersey theater gem, chose to revive its 1995 world premiere drama, The Man in Room 306, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Starring Jamil A.C. Mangan as Dr. King, this 90 minute production portrays Dr. King in the last hours of his life as he struggles to write a speech for the Poor ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

'The Sting' with Harry Connick Jr. Slithers and Shakes at Paper Mill

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and Chicago.  Scott Joplin’s music is intertwined with the show, especially “The ...