The tragedy that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School happened a week ago, and the incident has sparked a passionate response from the survivors. About 100 students from Parkland, Florida who were affected by the tragedy traveled to the state capitol in Tallahassee to rally for gun reform and meet with some of their elected officials. Thousands of others met them there to lend their support.
As the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students rallied at the capitol, the hashtag “#ParklandStudentsSpeak” started trending on Twitter. The Sun-Sentinel details that the students had meetings set up with Governor Rick Scott as well as with Attorney General Pam Bondi and a number of other state politicians. However, many of the students detail that they were left feeling brushed off and disappointed when they did not get to have the conversations they intended.
While some politicians seemingly avoided the Parkland survivors, others joined them and encouraged them. For example, Rep. Joe Abruzzo, D-Boynton Beach, told the students not to stop doing what they’re doing. Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, got emotional and told the students that he appreciated them being there and that the situation was deeply personal to him.
About 100 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas made the trip to Tallahassee. Chris Grady, 19, said that they wanted to talk to their politicians about common-sense gun safety with a priority on extensive background checks and making semi-automatic weapons harder to purchase. Many students, both those who are already familiar to “#NeverAgain” supporters and others new to stand up, spoke about the impact the shooting has had on them.
“This is for everyone in America! This is for every single kid that fears for their life! This is more than Parkland... This is about something serious, it is about human lives," a Stoneman Douglas student says at gun legislation rally https://t.co/0PhUmGFuCY pic.twitter.com/am5UMRVmnu— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 21, 2018
Charlotte Dwyer, a junior from Parkland, noted that they will not be backing down. She explains that they have all had to grow up a lot in the past week since Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people from their school. CBS News shared a clip of student Alfonso Calderon speaking confidently and passionately about his experience hiding in a closet with fellow students during the shooting, noting that he now understands what it’s like to text his parents goodbye.
There are plenty of people criticizing the Parkland students, at times going so far as to allege the teens are crisis actors. However, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students are also getting massive amounts of support, not only from the thousands who arrived in Tallahassee to physically show their support but from many online as well.
Nothing has given me more hope for the future than listening to these Parkland students. Appalling that it took a mass murder for me to realize it. #ParklandStudentsSpeak— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) February 21, 2018
Through you,— Randi Mayem Singer (@rmayemsinger) February 21, 2018
Sandy Hook souls are speaking today.
Virginia Tech souls are speaking today.
Aurora souls are speaking today.
Orlando souls are speaking today.
Las Vegas souls are speaking today.
Finally. Never Again. Stop gundamentalism.
Thank you, #ParklandStudentsSpeak
People note that they now have hope about conquering this problem and confidence in our youth thanks to this group and many now think progress may finally be made in the arena of gun reform. The Parkland survivors are quickly learning that they have a long road ahead of them in seeing the changes they seek actually implemented. However, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students speaking up are quickly proving to be a strong, determined, and passionate group who clearly will not be intimidated or backing down anytime soon.