I applaud David and Lauren Hogg for their ambition and efforts in championing this worthwhile cause; their fearless approach in tackling a seemingly impossible task; their frank openness in sharing their story; and their courage in moving past the tragedy.
I read, in horror, their account of the Parkland shooting where 17 students/faculty lost their lives. Even though I remember reading about the tragedy (and every school shooting prior to it), it wasn’t until reading #NeverAgain that I came to grasp the enormity of the situation. Absorbing each tragedy individually and in isolation allows one to dismiss the gravity of the whole. In the last chapter, David and Lauren spell out every man, woman and child that has lost their lives in a school shooting since the Columbine Shooting in 1999. It is sobering. It is real.
I am embarrassed to admit that it took this long to wake me up from my slumber of denial. We live in a world where kids are so used to ‘shooting drills’ that they have become complacent. When did that happen? When did it become normal to expect a shooting in any school? It is appalling and heart breaking.
Finally, #NeverAgain is authentically written — which is both a bonus and a drawback. Because therein lies my only critique of the book. I found the text to be choppy, with awkward transitions between the two sibling authors, as if they were airing a broadcast. I just had to remind myself that the importance of this story is not in the writing itself, but in the message.
And what a message it is — HOPE! Hope that this crazy world is made less crazy because it has fostered a generation of activists. A new generation of young people that are not afraid to speak out and take action. A new generation of young people that are not afraid to use social media to champion their causes. A new generation of young people that are socially aware and willing to band together to make change.
This generation has proven me wrong. No obstacle is too large to tackle. In a world where the societal issues seem insurmountable, this generation is showing us that change is possible — one small step at a time. As David and Lauren make very clear at the end of the book:
“….we are learning to change the world by presuming that we can.”
I say, Hallelujah.
And a special thanks to my young friend, Lorraine, who brought this book to my attention last week. May you never have to witness such tragedy. I thank you and your cohorts for charging forward into the world fearlessly, making it a better place for all of us.
Click below to find a local bookstore where you can purchase this book and read about these inspirational young adults: