A Matter of Life or Death
The events of February 14th in Parkland, FL, fundamentally changed many things. Lives were lost, families are grieving, and a community will never be the same. In some sense, it feels like we’ve seen all this before, after similar tragedies in places like Newtown, Las Vegas, and Orlando, but this time something is different. This time young people have decided that they’ve had enough. They decided that they’re going to change the world.
The way these students—from Parkland and all across the country—are organizing, protesting, and courageously speaking truth to power is as inspiring as it is hopeful. They came together in no time to form March For Our Lives and, on March 24, they will take to the streets of Washington, DC, and other communities across the country and the world to demand an end to gun violence and mass shootings in our schools. Their effort follows the remarkable work done by young people over the past few years in the Movement for Black Lives to combat gun violence in communities of color. The leadership of all these young people gives us hope for the future of our country and our democracy.
“Not one more,” reads the March For Our Lives mission statement. “We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students.”
A Broken Political System
Tired of waiting for our leaders to help solve the problem of gun violence, these young activists are taking charge. “Our schools are unsafe,” they say. “Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives.”
The answer is simple and infuriating: our political system is broken. It is a system that
prioritizes big-moneyed special interests at the expense of the broader public good. Poll after poll reflects widespread support for commonsense gun reform, even among gun owners—and NRA members! But the corrupting influence of big money in politics has so far ensured that nothing can be done. In fact, thanks to the NRA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn’t even able to study the issue of gun violence!
While it will take time to restore our democracy, the Parkland students are proving that when people stand up and get organized, our elected leaders can be held accountable—and things can begin to change. It gives us hope to see young people engaging in politics, calling politicians out on national TV, registering to vote, and starting, running, and leading a new political movement. Thanks to their work, we have a chance to do something—enact common sense gun reform legislation—that once seemed all but impossible. Specifically, the young activists are calling for:
- Passing a law to ban the sale of assault weapons like the ones used in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sutherland Springs, Aurora, Sandy Hook and, most recently, to kill 17 innocent people and injure more than a dozen others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
- Prohibiting the sale of high-capacity magazines, such as the ones the shooter at Parkland—and so many other recent mass shootings—used.
- Closing the loophole in our background-check law that allows dangerous people who shouldn’t be allowed to purchase firearms to slip through the cracks and buy guns online or at gun shows.
Now Is the Time
We stand with the student leaders of March For Our Lives. We stand with the communities of color where gun violence is a chronic problem. We stand with all those who want to enact commonsense gun reform. As the Brady Campaign says, we want to “make it significantly harder for deadly weapons to be used by dangerous people.”
America is the only country on earth where these shootings happen over and over again. How many more people need to be killed or wounded, how many more families and communities need to be torn apart, before our leaders do something?
Sign this petition in support of March For Our Lives, and then hit the streets with tens of thousands of your friends and neighbors on March 24. The NRA and other special interest groups may have the money, but we have the people. And when the people want change, change will come.
Sign the March For Our Lives petition