Youth Activists Organized Rallies at State Capitols Nationwide to Mark Fifth Anniversary of Historic March For Our Lives Following 2018 School Shooting in Parkland, Florida
Lansing, MI – Today, March For Our Lives marked its fifth anniversary with a major rally at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing. Speakers included MSU injured survivor Troy Forbush, Parkland survivor Sam Fuentes, and MEA President Paula Herbart, among others.
Lawmakers, students, parents, teachers, healthcare providers, and more came together to demand lawmakers pass a package of common sense gun safety laws that includes a mandated waiting period before purchasing firearms, repeals stand-your-ground laws, and closes a loophole for permitting firearms.
For the first time in 40 years, Michigan has a chance at gun safety. The Michigan legislature has been in the pocket of the gun lobby and hasn’t acted to keep kids safe from gun violence. Michiganders have suffered because of that, most recently with the tragedy at Michigan State University. Now, we finally have a chance to make a change.
In the wake of the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, young people turned their grief into action and birthed a movement that has achieved the unimaginable, successfully passing 250+ gun laws including the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – the single most important piece of federal gun legislation in 30 years. Unfortunately, young people are still dying needlessly looking down the barrel of a gun, with gun violence now the leading cause of death among children and young people.
“America, your children are dying, and the ones who live will never be the same,” said Joseph Kesto, Michigan State University survivor and Board Member of MFOL MSU. “Our classrooms are warzones, and it isn’t fair. School shootings aren’t natural or normal, so why is it taking so long to enact change? Why are we acting like this is our new normal? Nothing about this is normal.”
“Gun violence in this country has always been a matter of when not if,” said Sam Fuentes, a Parkland Survivor and March For Our Lives Board Member. “This is precisely the reason why I advocate for gun violence prevention and why survivors of Parkland and communities all over formed March For Our Lives in 2018. We’ve always said that we’re survivors fighting so that you don’t have to be one. Yet here we are. Another shooting, another town. It is difficult in these times to not feel discouraged and defeated when you have lost so much already. When the masses have only thoughts and prayers to offer. Well, sometimes when you want something done correctly you should just do it yourself. Take the anger, the tears, the agony of all the burdens you carry and make something that is both meaningful and healing.”
The Lansing rally is just one of many being held this week to mark the fifth anniversary of the first March For Our Lives in 2018. These rallies are sending a simple message: Young people refuse to die waiting for change. We will continue to fight for our lives. And we intend to win.