March For Our LivesBy Yasmine Regester / August 9, 2018
Dozens of student leaders and their supporters gathered at LeBauer Park in downtown Greensboro on Wednesday, August 1 for a March For Our Lives rally.
The national March For Our Lives organization made a stop in Greensboro as part of its “Road to Change” campaign to rally for gun control legislation. The Road To Change tour is a countrywide tour where the National March For Our Lives group travels across the nation to participate in rallies advocating for stricter gun laws and regulations.
March For Our Lives is the student-led organization first assembled on March 24, 2018, in response to the school shooting on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland, Fla. The fatal attack took the lives of 17 students and school staff members. March For Our Lives leaders say the mission and focus is to assure that no special interest group or political agenda takes precedence over the timely passage of legislation to effectively address gun violence issues across the country.
Student activists from March for Our Lives Greensboro met with March for Our Lives New York and the Road to Change students, including members of the national March for Our Lives organization.
Their visit to Greensboro began with a tour of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in downtown Greensboro. After the tour, the students joined a community discussion with former 1960 sit-in participants, Lewis Brandon and Brenda James-Dalton, including local community leaders and organizers, and March for Our Lives members: Parkland, Florida shooting survivors David Hogg, March For Our Lives and Jaclyn Corin, co-founder, March For Our Lives; Bria Smith, March For Our Lives Milwaukee; and Sara Jado, March For Our Lives Greensboro, regarding their experiences with social justice activism.
Brandon and James-Dalton both applauded the students’ commitment to the March For Our Lives movement.
“Young people have always been in the forefront of change,” said Brandon. “I see myself when I see these young people, so we have to give up these ideological battles and do the work these young folks are asking us to do. Vote and register other people to vote.”
Dillon Tyler, tour volunteer with the ICRCM, shared he became a victim of gun violence in 2006 when a fellow classmate opened fire at his Orange County High School in Hillsborough, N.C.
“If we don’t learn our history, we are doomed to repeat it,” said Tyler.
Bria Smith, student activist with March For Our Lives Milwaukee, said that her motivation is being a voice for victims of gun violence who feel they have no voice, particularly youth of color.
“Where I’m from, we’re so conditioned to hearing gun shots. I myself never thought I would have a voice. As youth of color, we are made to believe that our skin color defines us and that needs to change,” said Smith.
In the group’s mission statement it says they are advocating for universal, comprehensive background checks; equipping the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives with a digitized, searchable database; Funds for the CDC-P (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to research the gun violence epidemic in America; and a ban on high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic assault rifles.
Jaclyn Corin, co-founder of March For Our Lives and a Parkland, Fla. shooting survivor, said that the movement is not about being anti-gun, but instead proposing common sense legislation.
“We’re not here to be gun-grabbers. We’re here for common sense legislation. We just want to make sure its regulated as the 2nd Amendment promises,” said Corin.
David Hogg, March For Our Lives National organizer and Parkland shooting survivor noted the tour has been a great learning experience as they travel the entire country.
“A lot of us in this room don’t know what it’s like for those other communities because we haven’t lived there, so we can’t have empathy, but we can have sympathy,” he said. “We can feel for them and be allies with them, so that’s why we’re here today. To raise other people’s voices and create a coalition to save our future and save future lives. All communities are effected by gun violence. But they are not all treated the same when they are being addressed, and we need to call that out as well.”