Students from March for our Lives, including survivors of the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, are hitting the road, embarking on a 60-day, 20-state, 75-stop summer bus tour to register young people to vote and push gun control laws.
The March For Our Lives: Road to Change trip will go “to places where the NRA has bought and paid for politicians who refuse to take simple steps to save our lives—and we’ll be visiting a number of communities that have been affected by gun violence to meet fellow survivors and use our voices to amplify theirs,” the organizers said.
In February, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 students and faculty in Parkland, one of many mass shootings in the US. David Hogg, 18, who graduated yesterday with the other seniors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, told Axios: ”I’m glad I’m getting my diploma and not my death certificate.” He said he wanted to spend his gap year focused on mobilizing young voters.
More than 4 million Americans turned 18 this year, making them eligible to vote, if they actually register. (For context, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 US presidential election with 2.8 million more votes than Donald Trump, though the electoral college system broke in Trump’s favor.)
The students are calling for various reforms, including:
- dedicated funding for the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence;
- a ban on high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic assault rifles;
- universal comprehensive background checks;
- the disarming of domestic abusers;
- modernization of the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the federal agency that regulates the gun industry.
According to CNN, as of May 25, there had been, on average, one school shooting in the US every week of 2018 (here’s the list).
NBC late-night television host Jimmy Fallon spoke at the Marjory Stoneman graduation on Sunday, inverting the age-old advice given to students about them being the future: “You are not just the future—you are the present. Keep changing the world. Keep making us proud.”
The bus tour starts at a Peace March in Chicago, led by students from St. Sabina Academy. From there, the group will make stops in states including Texas, California, South Carolina, and Connecticut.