By State Representative, Leon D. Young
On Sunday March 24, high school kids, families and supporters of March for Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today. Organizers believe that up to 500,000 people will travel to Washington, DC in hopes of convincing an uncooperative Congress to enact commonsense gun control measures immediately.
March for Our Lives, organized by the new #NeverAgain movement – was founded by survivors of the Florida high school shooting, in which 14 students and three adult staff lost their lives in this senseless tragedy. Moreover, the Washington march will be supported by more than 50 “sister marches” in cities across the US. So far 85,000 people have expressed interest in the DC event – and more than 40,000 in New York City.
The new activists from Stoneman Douglas who have spoken out, in no uncertain terms, want a ban on assault weapons such as the one used in the attack, and fiercely oppose Donald Trump’s proposal to arm teachers. A mission statement on the March for Our Lives website sets out exactly why the mass rallies are necessary:
• School safety is not a political issue. There cannot be two sides to doing everything in our power to ensure the lives and futures of children who are at risk of dying when they should be learning, playing, and growing.
• The mission and focus of March for Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.
• No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.
It is truly ironic that a generation that’s perceived to have a notoriously short attention span is now demonstrating its unique ability to hold the attention of an entire nation, while pressing its demand for commonsense gun control legislation. And, as the March’s Mission Statement so powerfully purports:
“We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes. Our schools are unsafe. Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives.”
It’s time to protect kids and people — and not guns.