BY GOWRI ABHINANDA
NEWS COPY EDITOR
On Aug. 21, the March For Our Lives (MFOL) team published their “Peace Plan For A Safer America” to address the gun violence epidemic plaguing our nation, and recently, on Nov. 14, MFOL Florida has adopted this legislation and created “A Peace Plan For A Safer Florida” at the state level.
I woke up at four am to attend the event that would be proposing the “Peace Plan For A Safer America” and missed a whole day of school to travel to our state capital to plead our legislature to value its constituents lives. This display of activism was an experience that was empowering and unforgettable.
About 100 students across the state of Florida joined arms to rally for this vital plan through a press conference in Tallahassee on Nov. 14 and advocated for CHANGE. The acronym CHANGE that we follow stands for 6 steps that will alleviate the gun violence affair. First is C for change the standards of gun ownership, H for halve the rate of gun deaths in 10 years, A for accountability for the gun lobby and industry, N for name a director of gun violence prevention, G for generating community-based solutions and E for the final point of aiming to empower the next generation.
In the legislation proposal, activists part of MFOL and the Student Power Network, an organization that partnered up with us for student organizing, pushed legislators to pass the plan. The plan we were advocating for consists of clauses that promote a range of legislation like HB-289, which will require background checks on all sales of ammunition. The Peace Plan also demands that Governor Ron DeSantis acknowledge how gun violence in Florida enables racism and bigotry, to placing an amendment on Florida’s 2020 ballot that would ban assault weapons through the Ban Assault Weapons Now organization.
Being in a room filled with activists who had the same goal as I do to end gun violence was really comforting. It felt like a community and we all fed off of each other’s energy. We were all moved by one another’s personal and indirect experiences with gun violence, which inspired us to act against this problem.
I was given the opportunity to speak at the press conference and it was one of the most enlightening experiences ever. It had been a really long time since I had engaged in activism regarding this topic and being a part of the movement to give the state government a wake up call was incredibly fulfilling. I was filled with hope by the end. The press were there broadcasting our words that were filled with determination and well placed anger. I felt at least for a few moments that our voice was being listened to and valued.
This experience of promoting the “Peace Plan for a Safer Florida” was one that opened my eyes and filled my heart with motivation to continue the fight against this affair.
I, without a second thought, would love to continue being involved with this movement with MFOL, whether it be through speaking at a press conference or attending a rally in the future. Dipping my toes back into the water of activism has left me inspired to do more in my community to incite change against topics I’m passionate about.