Meet the Student Activists Fighting Against Gun Violence
May 23, 2018 12:00:00 AM
by Rob Samuelson
They’ve been all over the news since February,
walking out of class,
marching for their lives in the streets and
dunking on the president of the NRA on Twitter. These are the student activists who are fighting against gun violence. https://www.facebook.com/BetterConversationBetterEducation/videos/814789282053102/
A senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Emma González has been one of the most prominent faces of the movement since her school lost 17 students and staff on February 14, 2018. “Everybody’s getting hurt by this. It’s not just schools,” she said at the
2018 Education Writers Association (EWA) National Seminar, where she was joined by fellow students from across the country for a panel on gun violence.
A classmate of Emma González’s, David Hogg is also a senior from Parkland. He has been adamant that students have long felt the way they do about school shootings. “We’ve always been this way. You guys are just listening now,” Hogg said alongside his classmate at the
A senior at North Lawndale College Prep High School in Chicago, Alex King has been working on helping victims of gun violence through a group called the Peace Warriors since his 16-year-old nephew was murdered a year ago. “Through my friends and colleagues, I found help to come up out of a dark place,” he said at the March for Our Lives,
according to The Washington Post. “Everyone doesn’t have the same resources or support system as I was lucky to have.”
A resident of Newtown, Connecticut, Jackson Mittleman saw what happened when 26 people—including 20 children—were murdered by a gunman in 2012 when he was 11 years old. After the shooting in Parkland, he leapt to join in solidarity with students he didn’t know from hundreds of miles away. “We understand what they’re doing and why understand what they’ve experienced, and we are standing behind them while they’re leading this charge for national change,”
he told Mother Jones during the March for Our Lives.
A senior at Golden High School in Colorado, 18-year-old Emmy Adams joined an April 2018 rally near Columbine, where two student shooters killed 13 students and faculty, plus themselves, 19 years previously. “The idea is to unite and empower survivors, to stand together,”
she told Reuters about the goal of the rally and the overall movement.
A student from South Los Angeles, Edna Chavez lost her brother to a bullet. She told the
March for Our Lives crowd about that experience and about the sad things she had to learn growing up. “I have learned to duck from bullets before I learned how to read,” she said.
A 17-year-old senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Cameron Kasky has joined his classmates in being bluntly critical of the elected officials who have not changed gun laws in the wake of school shootings and other mass murder events. “If he's in front of families, he might say something in support of commonsense gun reform. But then when he's at the NRA, he'll say something to get a big cheer,”
Kasky told CNN about how President Donald Trump’s comments on gun reform shift depending on the audience.
The granddaughter of Martin Luther King, Yolanda King has public speaking in her genes. The 9-year-old joined a Parkland survivor, Jaclyn Corin, at the March for Our Lives, and took the microphone to make a connection to her grandfather’s famous speech. “I have a dream that enough is enough. And that this should be a gun-free world, period,”
she told the crowd.
A 16-year-old student at Ridgefield High School in Connecticut, Lane Murdock started the
online petition that became the April 20 school walkouts to commemorate the school shootings that have happened since Columbine in 1999. “What could I do to help other kids who felt really powerless?” she said was her motivation,
she told Vox.
Unlike her peers in the movement, Alexandria, Virginia, native Naomi Wadler hasn’t even reached her teenage years. She’s 11, and she
spoke at the March for Our Lives. “I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential,” she said in her speech.