A number of prominent student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School just graduated and now they are taking their activism on the road.
The teenagers, who survived the brutal Parkland school massacre that claimed 17 lives, have vowed to work towards voter reform and announced they will embark on a 60-day bus tour of the United States, visiting 20 states to teach young Americans about change that can be brought about if only they use their right to vote.
The students will meet victims and survivors from other school shootings, including the recent tragic shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, which took 10 lives.
Named “Road To Change,” the tour aims at educating the young voter base and unhinging gun lobbying politicians.
The tour was announced by some of the most prominent faces of the Parkland activists including Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg and Cameron Kasky, during a press conference, joined by a number of other student activists.
“Four million people turn 18 this year and if every single one votes, encourages their friends to vote and their families, we can bring real change in this country. A lot of politicians do not want a lot of young people voting; they want marginalized communities staying out of the polls because they know they’ll be voted out. Our generation can change the game; we do not have to surrender to dirty, awful politics,” said Cameron.
The bus tour will begin on in June 15 in Chicago at a peace march. It will also include stops in California, Iowa, South Carolina and Connecticut.
Hogg added the Santa Fe shooting provided them even more incentive to fight for better gun laws so that such tragedies do not recur.
“A successful summer would be any boost in youth and American voter turnout,” he said. “The amount of apathy we have right now is unacceptable. In the last midterm, 18 to 24-year-olds voted about 18%. That doesn’t sound American to me, and as a result you’ve seen people elected who, for example, don’t support net neutrality. Even if you’re not concerned with gun policy, and I think you should be, there’s a parallel between people that take money from the NRA and people that don’t support net neutrality.”
Gonzalez said they planned the tour in a way that each stop would be different from the previous one in how they approach to get their message of stricter gun laws across.
“We’re going from place to place,” she said, “to round tables, to rallies, we’re going to go to people’s churches, their communities, we’re going to talk to people and try to get everybody registered to vote. We’ll just talk about whatever. A group of kids I met last week, we were talking gun violence and got sidetracked and started talking about the Backyardigans. Those are the kind of connections that we want to make.”
“We’re aiming for places that have experienced a lot of gun violence, or some places where we aren’t necessarily loved. We want to communicate with people, if they have a problem with us we want to address that problem and have a communication and see if there’s any common ground,” she added.
The bus tour will work as an extension to the March For Our Lives, which brought together hundreds and thousands of people all across America and turned into a worldwide movement to fight for gun law reforms.
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