Thursday, November 15, 2018

Road to Change


Photos by Jodi Pree | Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Adam Alhanti speaks at the March for Our Lives: Road to Change press conference in Naples.

Elders often feel that today’s youth lack motivation and involvement. However, Monday’s press conference, voter registration drive, and rally regarding gun violence, led entirely by high school students and recent graduates, may change that opinion.

Their road to change first began on a tragic day in February 2018. The lives of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were forever changed as bullets from an assault rifle ripped through their school. The students were immediately mobilized by their grief and outrage from the atrocity they experienced, which senselessly took the lives of 17 innocent people. Within a week, the grieving students stormed Tallahassee and raised their powerful voices with messages that no one could ignore. From that moment, involvement from students, concerned citizens, and media across the nation snowballed, awareness was raised, and donations poured in.



Gary Snow protests outside the Road to Change press conference.

This summer, these now-seasoned, well-funded activists are racking up miles as they pave their way across the USA on their national March for Our Lives: Road to Change bus tour traveling from city to city with stops scheduled in over 20 states. The national tour officially kicked off on June 15 in Chicago and included a Peace March. The separate, Florida state tour began on Friday, June 22, at Parkland and will cover more than 25 statewide stops, visiting each congressional district. On Monday, June 25, the youth held a voter registration drive at Silverspot Cinema following their press conference at the Naples Best Western before heading up to Florida Gulf Coast University for a townhall meeting and rally.

“I’m here today, because I want to learn more and be politically active. Even though I’m too young to vote, I still want to be able to learn about everything and be able to make change when I can vote. I want to be involved and make change in our world,” explains 15-year-old Lely High School student, Eden Krumholz.

“We are here to share our ideas with chapters across the nation. Students across the nation who are activated and ready to make sure that nothing like what happened to us (at Parkland) happens anywhere else. We are non-partisan and don’t support or endorse any specific candidate. We need to start talking about what the right way to fix this is, not the immediate way. We need to discuss ideas, not shout about ideas,” remarks Parkland’s Adam Alhanti, age 17.

 

At each stop along the way, the Parkland students meet with local teen activists, candidates, and community leaders. They hold press conferences, voter registration drives, and town hall meetings to get their message out and encourage each area’s youth to get involved, educate themselves on the issues and the candidates, and then have their voices heard.

“Ideally, 20 years from now our movement won’t need to exist, but in the meantime we are going to fight for as long as it takes to get sensible gun violence prevention legislation put into place and get morally just leaders elected. We will do it through clubs, grassroots movements, townhalls, community engagement. The ultimate goal is for this not to exist anymore. Twenty years from now, no more March for Our Lives!” expresses a hopeful Delaney Tarr, of Parkland.

For more information about the Road to Change visit www.marchforourlives.com or text CHANGE to 977-79. To see how the Parkland students initially organized and mobilized, check out the CBS News Special “39 Days” available on YouTube. For more information about the NRA, go to: nra.org


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