Marching for our lives
Organizers believe up to 500,000 people could travel to Washington DC on 24 March to demand action on gun control.
March for Our Lives, organized by the new #NeverAgain movement – founded by survivors of the Florida school shooting – has applied for a permit for half a million people in the capital, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
Seventeen people – 14 students and three teachers – were killed in the shooting at the school. About 100 students attended a rally at the Florida state capitol in Tallahassee on Wednesday.
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.
Sofie Whitney, one of the three founders of the #NeverAgain movement that on Sunday announced the march, said the students were simply seeking “commonsense” solutions to gun control.
“We don’t need a full bill to be written overnight but we need some action, we need them to begin helping us make the change,” Whitney, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, told the Guardian this week.
. The new activists from Stoneman Douglas who have spoken out broadly 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.
March for Our Lives has raised more than $2m as of Friday. The group have compiled a list of all the demonstrations here.
What we’re reading
- At Newsweek, Ryan Sit explains why the NRA is so powerful – but also “why gun control advocates have reason for hope”. The NRA is adept at “mobilizing its base (it boasts a membership of 5 million) against candidates it deems a threat”, Sit writes. But the hope comes from a growing public support for stricter gun control, and the growing number of people who view the NRA unfavorably.
- While there are encouraging signs, “true change” on guns will be “a long haul”, says AJ Willingham at CNN. Willingham praises the work of the Stoneman Douglas students and others who have spoken about the need for stricter gun control, but she warns that what happens next will not be easy. Students and activists will be targets for abuse from the right, and it will take a lot of work to effect change. But Willingham says that the general response to students’ efforts so far shows that “for now the near future looks promising”.