Dear President Trump and Members of the United States Congress:
Our grief and solemn prayers are with the victims, the families, and the friends of our sisters and brothers in Parkland, Florida. Ours is a national tragedy. Yet we have hope because we have watched in admiration and awe as the poised, articulate young survivors of the Parkland massacre have beseeched adults to "fix this" plague of gun violence in America. It is not lost on us that none of them were even born when the Columbine High School killings in Littleton, Colorado claimed 13 lives. Yet the shootings have gone on and on.
We adults have repeatedly failed to fix this singularly American phenomenon.
Now we must listen to our youth. We must not cruelly disparage them in this time of trauma, grief and anger. As Pope Francis has said, "Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you. Do not be afraid to dream of great things." Ending the horrific mass killings in our schools and streets is a great thing we all are called to do. Now we urge you, as President and Members of Congress, to listen and to fix this indeed.
Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J.
President, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
This letter was originally issued and posted on the AJCU homepage on February 28, 2018.