Yesterday afternoon, a group of students boarded two buses in Parkland, Florida, and went to Tallahassee to convince legislators to consider changes in Florida’s gun laws. The survivors-turned-activists have mobilized since the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 dead at their high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas. They weren’t alone as they traveled to put pressure on state representatives to pass gun control measures. Four Pulse survivors — young people from Orlando who survived that June 2016 attack — met the roughly 100 Parkland students, joining forces in their gun control efforts.
CBS Miami reports that one of the Pulse survivors offered these words of encouragement: “Y’all got this. Y’all strong. Make sure your voices are heard.”
Students who survived the Florida school shooting met survivors of the Pulse Nightclub shooting before boarding buses to head to the state capitol to demand action on gun reform. pic.twitter.com/6afZtJMViu
— AJ+ (@ajplus) February 20, 2018
Anthony Lopez, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, said he’s making a list of the things he wants to tell lawmakers: “Ban on military weapons, universal background checks including info of mental health, past history and prison time, raise for the age of ownership for a gun.”
There are already plans being looked at by lawmakers — a big move by the state’s Republican-dominated legislature. Incoming Senate President Bill Galvano has a proposal in development.
For students, it’s a start.
“I just want, not even just about guns, but about mental health and public safety,” says one student. “I just want to feel safe where ever I go. If I go to school, if I go shopping, I just want to feel safe and not have to worry about the people around me.”
As they make the long trip to the Capitol, these Pulse survivors and Parkland students are preparing for a day of meetings with lawmakers. Since it’s so late in the session, they know they’ll have to work with bills already in the pipeline. But they want to make sure they’re heard and that someone takes action.
“We will not rest until something changes, says9th grade student Emma Stravitz. “We will not rest until our voices are heard. We will not rest until people open their eyes and listen to us.”