On Feb. 14, a gunman walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla. and shot and killed 17 people, including 14 students.
The aftermath of the tragic shooting followed similar patterns: politicians sent their thoughts and prayers to the victims and discussed “the difficult issue of mental health“, and the price of shares in gun manufacturers went up. But students are responding to the tragedy in a more organized and national way than the country has seen in many years.
Activating the Activists
A group of students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High who survived the shooting have started an organization called “March for Our Lives.” Their mission statement emphasizes the need to make the lives of students and teachers the nation’s “top priority” and calls on students across the country to join their cause. Some members of the group have spoken at gun-control rallies and have meetings with state officials planned for this week. They have their sights set on Washington, D.C., next.
The biggest action March for Our Lives has planned so far is a national student walk-out on March 24. The organizers and their families will be in Washington, D.C., on that day to meet with lawmakers, and they’ve invited students from around the country to join them, either in D.C. or in their own communities. One of the organizers, Cameron Kasky, said their goal is to stop politicians taking money from the National Rifle Association, and to unseat any politician who does in the upcoming mid-term elections.
March for Our Lives is not the only group that has planned a national walk-out in the wake of the shooting in Florida. The Women’s March youth branch, EMPOWER, is calling on “students, teachers, and allies” to walk out for 17 minutes (one minute for each victim) on March 14, a month after the shooting. Another group is planning a national walk-out on April 2o, which marks 19 years since the 1999 Columbine High School mass shooting, in which 12 students and one teacher were killed.