BY GOWRI ABHINADA
A new initiative was prompted following the March For Our Lives (MFOL) movement after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland, Florida, driving students to fight for change. On March 24, an estimated 200,000 people congregated in the nation’s capital and demanded change in gun reform for the nation. Over 800 sister marches took place around the nation in sync with the main event.
Senior Jason Tache, attended a sister march in Parkland, Florida. He said seeing MFOL move further with Road To Change, new community initiatives and the new novel Glimmer of Hope makes him more hopeful in the way young people are involved.
“It’s ingenious the way they’ve shifted it from gun control to political involvement,” Tache said. “It has been day and night with how young people care about politics. A large part of why is because of what MFOL has done and what they’re doing moving further.”
MFOL’s new initiative Road To Change is scheduled to visit cities around the country and have new dates for this summer. They have specifically travelled to college campuses to register young people to vote. The tour involves student activists, gun violence survivors and community leaders.
A founder of the MFOL movement and senior at MSD Jackie Corin said it is empowering to continue fighting for this cause. For this reason, Corin is promoting Road To Change.
“It’s been a privilege registering people to vote and holding these conversations,” Corin said. “Building the infrastructure to protect civic engagement for all people is essential.”
The young activist said she also encourages Get-Out-The-Vote efforts such as the Chapter Program. Corin also advocates the MFOL founder’s new book Glimmer of Hope and the ways MFOL plans to spread nationwide.
“[Speaking on behalf of the founders of MFOL,] we want [the nation] to get involved and give them tools to do so [with the Chapter Program]. Glimmer of Hope is a novel of the first couple months [after the shooting] and highlights that we are normal teenagers that gathered together in the living room floor to [start this movement],” Corin said. “Communities still mobilize, even if gun violence hasn’t personally affected them, and it makes me happy to know that people understand that this is important to solve before something happens to them.”
However, freshman Max Levinson said he disagrees and is protective of his second amendment rights. He said the efforts of the new tour, the book and the community involvement efforts are a threat to American ideals.
“I think people with MFOL have the right to do what they want; however, they can’t infringe upon my right to own any gun,” Levinson said. “Also, the problem stems much further and I feel this problem of gun violence won’t be solved by this whole new thing.”
Tache said he is a firm believer in the positive impacts of these efforts such as the youth involvement and gun safety conversations.
“It’s too easy to obtain guns to do harm and restrictions need to be placed,” Tache said. “Loopholes need to be closed. Voting for people who support this and raising awareness about [gun control] issues is the way to go.”
Also in agreement is Florida House of Representatives member Richard Stark said he sees this as a good way to get people engaged in voting, while at the same time, spreading the message for a need to resolve the gun violence issue. Stark said this movement, especially living in South Florida, has brought about a great deal of citizen involvement in the Midterm Election process.
“The movement has been very successful in generating grass roots efforts by citizens all over the United States to address gun violence,” Representative Stark said. “This affects both sides of the issue as those opposed to any gun safety reform must defend their position of increasing gun ownership and not addressing safety for so many years.”
Representative Stark also said there is a need for reaching out to Americans to encourage voting which is something Road To Change accomplishes.
“Unfortunately, too many Americans do not take advantage of voting,” Representative Stark said. “Getting people educated to vote and understanding the basics of the issues is important.”
Corin said she hopes the sparks for change will soon be ignited into action as a community. She encourages the new efforts to spread the message and keep the cause growing until a reasonable solution has been made.
“[Everyone] should get involved in the community, vote and buy Glimmer of Hope. It’s a good intel of what we’ve experienced and how this began,” Corin said. “It’s an empowering story which shows young people that anything can grow if they truly believe in it and put effort into promoting the cause.”