On Valentine’s Day, 14 students and three teachers were brutally gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. For the survivors, who had spent most of their school years doing active shooter drills, this hit far too close to home for comfort. They decided to go on the march to not only ensure that no other school had to experience that horror again, but to end the National Rifle Association-imposed inertia on gun control.
Just over a month after the shooting, the Parkland kids organized the March for Our Lives in Washington, and rallied students in over 800 other cities around the nation and the world to hold sister marches. They’ve also not been shy about calling out the NRA and their enablers in Washington, in state legislatures, and in the media.
Any doubt that these kids were not going away any time soon was erased on Monday. They announced plans for a summer bus tour to rally their fellow youngsters ahead of this year’s midterm elections.
Rising senior Cameron Kasky, who cofounded the “Never Again” movement within days of the shooting, announced the tour, called the “Road to Change,” at a press conference near their school on Monday afternoon. Watch it here, courtesy WFOR-TV in Miami.
Kasky, flanked by many of his fellow student activists–including Jaclyn Corin, David Hogg, and Emma Gonzalez–said that he and his friends wanted to educate their friends on how powerful their votes really are. When he and his friends looked at the turnout for the 2014 midterms, they discovered that it was the lowest since World War II.
They decided to do something to “harness the energy and passion we witnessed on March 24 and turn it into action” in November–and the result was the Road to Change. Kasky put it simply.
“We can march. We can bring our politicians into a new light and make sure they are held accountable. But at the end of the day, real change is brought through voting.”
To that end the Parkland kids will go on two bus tours. A national tour will start in Chicago on June 15, in conjunction with a student-led peace rally, and wind its way through 75 stops in 20 states over the next two months. Other students will travel across Florida, making stops in all 27 of the state’s congressional districts.
It didn’t take long for the NRA to try to push back. The NRA’s official Twitter feed offered a predictable response.
On NRATV, Grant Stinchfield parroted the NRA line that Kasky and his friends are puppets of Michael Bloomberg and other gun-control activists who are simply in over their heads. Watch here.
Stinchfield claimed that the Road to Change was a “smoke and mirrors sham,” since they’re going to places which are already ridiculously blue.
Apparently Stinchfield forgets that these kids will have an impact beyond where they stop. Seven of the higher-profile Parkland kids–Kasky, Corin, Gonzalez, David Hogg, Lauren Hogg, Delaney Tarr, and Sarah Chadwick–have over three million followers on Twitter between them. And they will all be fully weaponized for the next three cycles at least.
The Parkland kids also know that the Stinchfields of the world do not speak for most NRA members. To that end, Hogg–who, along with Gonzalez, graduated a day earlier–is spearheading an effort to get the sane members of the NRA to rally to the Parkland kids’ cause.
To help these kids along, donate to the March for Our Lives Action Fund here.
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