Although it has been nearly a month since the devastating shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the gun control debate remains in full swing.
America’s youth are still putting the pressure on government officials to implement stronger gun control measures to prevent future mass shootings. Students throughout the country have planned to participate in the March for Our Lives demonstration scheduled for March 24 during which rallies will be held in Washington D.C. and around the nation to protest gun violence.
In Wisconsin, students have organized a 50-mile march on the following day called "March for Our Lives: 50 Miles More" to take the day of action a step further. They plan to march all the way from Madison to Janesville, which is the hometown of House Speaker Paul Ryan, The Hill reports.
"We have grown up experiencing school shootings followed by this inaction, and we refuse to let it happen this time,” said the Wisconsin march co-leader Katie Eder, who is a senior at Shorewood High School.
She added: “We want to make sure that when the March For Our Lives events end on the 24th, people don’t stop talking and thinking about the need for gun reform."
Eder maintains that the conversation will continue after March for Our Lives until real changes are made.
"That is why we are taking on a multi-day march; when the cameras have turned off on the 24th, we will pick up the torch and carry it directly to Paul Ryan’s front door," she said.
She continued: "By marching together, we are showing that the issue of gun violence transcends political, racial, and geographical boundaries and that we are united in the fight we are bringing to Paul Ryan.”
Organizers of the Wisconsin march are working with the sheriff’s department and local officials to ensure the demonstration runs smoothly. They plan to sleep in high schools along the route and will march approximately 13 miles a day over four days to complete the trek.
The group’s website outlines the reforms they are seeking, including banning the sale of “military-style weapons, and all weapons of war,” as well as increasing the legal age to purchase any kind of gun to 21.
The student activists have joined forces with other organizations, including the women-led political action group March On.
“They are fearless, and they are pushing a level of change we couldn’t have dreamed of a month ago. We are in awe of what they are accomplishing,” March On executive director Vanessa Wruble said of the young students.
While the circumstances that led to the need for these protests are incredibly troubling, witnessing the tenacity of teens across the country — who are passionate about ending senseless bloodshed — inspires hope for the future of our country.