Listen up, make an impact

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Listen up, make an impact

Yonah Davis

The Minnesota Capitol’s rotunda was packed with a sea of orange-clad people of all ages united by a common goal: to end gun violence, on Thursday, Feb. 22. Gun violence prevention organization Protect Minnesota organized the rally in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Rally attendees watched and listened as various speakers — students to politicians alike — shared their perspectives. At the end of each speech, the crowd cheered and chanted in support.

During the middle of the event, Minnesota representative Jamie Becker-Finn approached the podium. She introduced herself as a mother and a prosecutor, and the crowd applauded politely. Then to everyone’s surprise, she revealed that she is also a gun owner. Following this revelation, a hush fell over the crowd. Most attendees of the rally were like minded people, present to protest gun violence. 

The crowd remained unsure of what to think until midway through her speech when she expressed her support for sensible gun laws. According to the Washington Post, the majority of gun owners are responsible, so it is important to recognize their voices. At the end of her speech, the crowd erupted in cheers — a stark difference from the way she was welcomed to the podium. By simply listening to a different viewpoint, I was able to understand that there are more ways that we can connect rather than divide.

The majority of gun owners are responsible, so it is important to recognize their voices. ”

— Yonah Davis

Today, in a world where there are many aspects to every issue, it is particularly important to listen to all perspectives on an issue and be open minded. While it may seem like you completely disagree with a person, giving them a few moments of your time and being open to what they have to say may help you find a common ground. In order to change, it is crucial to listen to others and work together. Learning to listen to something you disagree with can potentially be uncomfortable but it is important.

I never plan on being a gun owner. However, listening to a new perspective helped me realize that in order to create a difference, I need to listen to others.

As the rally ended and the crowd flooded out of the doors, I was left with a lesson: to create change, I need to be willing to listen to others.

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