Here are the inspiring ways US teenagers are fighting for gun control
From protests to confronting lawmakers, these teens aren’t going away any time soon.
A shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school took the lives of 17 pupils on Wednesday. In their grief, teenagers, their parents, teachers and the families of those who lost loved ones quickly organised calls for tighter gun reform.
In a quest to keep the cause in the public consciousness for more than one news cycle, the students have banded together with other organisations to arrange marches, protests and meetings with lawmakers in an attempt to change federal and state policy on gun control.
Here are some of the ways they are getting their message heard.
Protests in Florida’s state Capitol
Survivors of the Florida school shooting descended on the state legislature to meet with lawmakers and push for tighter restrictions on gun ownership.
About 100 pupils from the high school made the 400-mile trip from their school to the capitol building in Tallahassee on three buses, staying overnight on camp beds in the local civic centre.
Democrats attempted to get a bill to ban assault rifles and large-capacity magazines heard on the House floor on Tuesday. Republicans, who dominate the chamber, dismissed it. Students who were at the Capitol ahead of their classmates found that Republicans steered the conversation away from gun restrictions.
Students and thousands of supporters then gathered outside the state Capitol, chanting “enough is enough” and “this is what democracy looks like”.
“Lie-in” in front of the White House
Activist group Teens For Gun Reform arranged for 17 teenagers to lie down in front of the White House on Monday, the same number killed in last week’s shooting.
They were joined by more students chanting and giving speeches in a protest which has lasted in different forms until Wednesday.
March for our lives
Led by survivors of last week’s shooting, the march for our lives will feature a main march in Washington, supported by many smaller marches in cities across the US, including Seattle, Philadelphia and Houston. It will take place on March 24.
Organisers of the march wrote on their event website: “March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar.
“In the tragic wake of the 17 lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March For Our Lives believes the time is now.”
George and Amal, I couldn’t agree with you more. I am joining forces with you and will match your $500,000 donation to ‘March For Our Lives.’ These inspiring young people remind me of the Freedom Riders of the 60s who also said we’ve had ENOUGH and our voices will be heard.— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) February 20, 2018
Celebrities have also got behind the cause. George and Amal Clooney donated $500,000 to the movement, which was soon matched by Oprah Winfrey.
School walkouts across the country
Gather your classmates. Work with your administrators and class presidents. Propose these ideas respectfully and efficiently. Just emailing your local school officials can get the ball rolling on this movement. #NationalSchoolWalkout— National School Walkout (@schoolwalkoutUS) February 17, 2018
April 20 will see the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting in Colorado, which killed 15 people. To mark the anniversary and bolster the current protest movement, 15-year-old Lane Murdock from Ridgefield, Connecticut set up National School Walkout.
Her campaign asks students to leave their desks at 10am on Tuesday and proceed to an outdoor area on campus. They are then to hold a 17-minute silence in tribute to the 17 people killed last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, followed by speeches from anyone who wishes to address the gathering.
Enough is enough!— Women's March (@womensmarch) February 16, 2018
Women's March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes at 10am on March 14, 2018. Join us in saying #ENOUGH!https://t.co/8ZE8uthRlZ pic.twitter.com/45yCZl4zDm
The Women’s March youth movement has also arranged a walkout on March 14 following a similar model.
For Coral Springs students participating in the walkout, please stay on Sample Rd. and Coral Springs Dr. We have personnel on those roads to ensure your safety. Motorists, please proceed with caution or avoid those areas. Walkout is scheduled to begin at noon.— Coral Springs Police (@CoralSpringsPD) February 21, 2018
Students particularly impacted by last week’s atrocity have already taken to the streets. Pupils from schools surrounding Marjory Stoneman Douglas walked out of school brandishing signs and chanting for gun reform, and many gathered outside Boca Raton city hall in Florida.