Pope Francis calls on youth to stand and speak out

Rome: Pope Francis on Sunday called on the youth across the world to continue standing up and speaking out, a day after thousands of people, mostly students protested against gun violence in the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington D.C. and elsewhere in the US.

In his Palm Sunday address at the St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Pope Francis said, “Dear young people, you have it in you to shout.”

Palm Sunday celebrated on the Sunday before Easter is commemorated by Christians as the day Jesus entered Jerusalem in the week of his crucifixion when palm leaves were strewn in his path, CNN reported.

Noting that the Palm Sunday coincided with World Youth Day, the pontiff used the opportunity to compare youth to Jesus’s followers, who were scorned by his detractors.

“It is up to you not to keep quiet. Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders, so often corrupt, keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?”, he added.

He also urged the youth to fight out the challenges and not be afraid to face fears.

“Do not be afraid to face your fears honestly, to recognize them for what they are and to come to terms with them,” Pope Francis stated.

Thousands of people, primarily students flooded the Pennsylvania Avenue in the American capital for the “March for Our Lives” on March 24 to support tougher gun controls, in the wake of last month’s shooting at a Florida school, which claimed 17 lives.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland, Florida organised the massive protests in collaboration with the nonprofit organisation, “Everytown for Gun Safety.” The motto of the protests is Never Again MSD.

19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student, claimed responsibility for the shooting and was expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons. He has been booked on 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Following this, massive protests were held by students across the US to pressure the Trump administration for tougher gun measures.

Many Hollywood celebrities also lent their support to the students and had participated in the movement.

Last week, students from more than 3,000 schools took to the streets from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles and from New York to Parkland on National Walkout Day to call for action against gun violence.

Organized by Empower, the youth arm of the Women’s March movement, the walkouts are the latest show of activism by young people who are now wading into the gun-control debate. (ANI)