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When we come together, teens can accomplish a lot

April 27, 2018 GMT

“Wait, who’s bringing the tables?”

The tension-filled question circulated among the 10 or so students gathered in the atrium of the Roundhouse early in the morning of Friday, April 20. For many of us, this was just the most recent in a seemingly endless web of logistical details that we had been trying to work out for the past few weeks. We were the core of a group of teens from almost every school in Santa Fe who had been meeting for about a month and a half to organize the gun control demonstration last week.

My mom often tells me that she thinks that teens are our society’s most underused sustainable resource. After the experience of organizing this event, I couldn’t agree more. When I entered the little upstairs theater of the Studio Center of Santa Fe (formerly Warehouse 21), for the first meeting I attended, I was blown away by the excitement and passion in the room. All of us were there, not because we wanted to support adults in making decisions we agreed with, but because we wanted to make those decisions ourselves. We were ready to work. And when teens actually put their heads together to make something happen, it can produce magic.

But the brainstorming and planning were so easy compared to the logistical details. Though I have participated in several demonstrations in my life, I was taken aback by all the little things that are crucial to organizing such an event. We needed tables and chairs, a sound system, food, flyers, a podium, the press, the list goes on … and we hadn’t even thought of the people yet. By breaking up into teams that tackled the different components of the day and using our incredibly diverse skill sets to our advantage, we were eventually able to figure out most things, even if they didn’t end up being exactly the way we had imagined them.

Nonetheless, when I woke up on the day of the demonstration, a trillion doubts ran through my head. What if nobody showed up? What if the panel fell though? What if it rained all day? Having stayed up until nearly midnight to work on speeches with a couple of friends, I was running on six hours of sleep, and it didn’t feel like enough. Two hours later, I stood in the drizzle and closed my eyes. Podium delivered: check. Orange face paint: check. Coffee: check. After a few frantic phone calls, the tables also received a green check mark in my head. We cranked up the speakers and put on the Beatles, and suddenly people started arriving. I felt a thrill run through my body at the sight of the kids who came, chanting, around the corner. That indescribable rush was worth every single time-consuming logistic.

For a split second, I locked eyes with a co-organizer. We did this, her smile said. Yes, I thought, we did.

Hannah Laga Abram is a junior at the Santa Fe Waldorf School. Contact her at ceciliasycamore@gmail.com.