Parkland survivor Sarah Chadwick’s hot memes are a powerful form of activism

Sarah Chadwick, one of the students behind the '#NeverAgain' movement, is tweeting about her activism to perfection
Image: Getty Images

In the days since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people, students from the school have taken up a gun-control movement highlighted by powerful speeches, a tenacious CNN town hall appearance, and, in the case of Sarah Chadwick, cuttingly funny tweets.

Chadwick, a junior, has been among a group of outspoken MSDHS students who have given voice to the grief and rage of a community shattered by a violent act in the “Never Again” movement. And her activism, like many of the students, has extended to social media. 

Chadwick has brought a fiery edge to her Twitter game amongst all of her activism work. Case in point: her slam on Sen. Marco Rubio after his poor performance at the CNN town hall when Chadwick’s classmate, Cameron Kasky, challenged Rubio on not taking anymore donations from the NRA. 

She also whipped up a tweet off the “Is your child texting about” meme that managed to deliver a few laughs and dovetail with the students’ current mission, a pretty impressive feat for someone of any age.

And as for the ridiculous conspiracy theory from the far right that some of the students — and one in particular, David Hogg — were “crisis actors,” Chadwick delivered a zinger that dinged Hogg in jest but also underscored the absurdity of the conspiracies.

She’s also not one to take any guff from pearl-clutching conservative commentators who keep pushing an agenda that distracts from the key issues of gun control and protecting the students.

But for all the jokes, Chadwick, like her classmates, has displayed incredible resolve and stunning maturity in the face of unspeakable tragedy, not to mention an eloquence that I’m pretty sure I was nowhere close to when I was their age. 

This extends to their social media use, which the students have leveraged to their advantage. Like her classmates, Chadwick’s Twitter account has been extremely active with retweets showing support, links to their appearances that amplify their message, and useful, relevant news items. 

Yeah, they get in zingers (like that one on Rubio) and they’re out here memeing it up, but there’s always an underlying message to their sharing. And even with the lulz, they haven’t undermined their message. Instead, their channeling even the smallest bits of humor toward their greater goal: change in gun control laws in the hopes of making these school shootings a thing of the past.

The humor hasn’t only grounded their efforts, it’s amplified how extraordinary these students are. These aren’t professional activists with years of experience under their belt; they’re young people who were, a week ago, simply living the teenage experience when a act of violence ripped that away from them.

That Sarah, Cameron, Emma, and so many others can find the inner strength to not only fight back but maintain their own sense of humanity as so many others try to tear them down is breathtaking to watch. 

Seeing these students rally, both online and off, shows us that, at heart, they’re still teens who like to goof on their friends and find joy in the world. And more importantly, it helps radiate one the most important things one can ask for in the wake of another horrific attack: it gives us hope.

UPDATED: The story originally referred to Chadwick as a sophomore; she’s actually a junior. We’ve also added Chadwick’s burn on conservative commentator Laura Ingraham.

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