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
Sacramento, CA – Yesterday, March For Our Lives marked its fifth anniversary with a rally at the California State Capitol in Sacramento. Speakers included MFOL Board Member Mariah Cooley and Assemblymember Kevin McCarty.
Lawmakers, youth activists, survivors, and families of gun violence victims came together to fight for a California bill that would declare places like public transit and the vicinity of schools “sensitive areas” so it would be unlawful to carry firearms there. Though it’s a common sense bill, the gun lobby is mobilizing against it due to fears that it would be a model for other states to adopt. So once again, young people rallied to fight back against the gun lobby and demanded passage of this common-sense bill.
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. And, while California is a model of gun safety, there are still gaps to be closed in its system and the Supreme Court’s decision in Bruen opened new opportunities for gun violence.
“As I continue to fight in this movement, I will continue to fight for the voiceless and often forgotten in this gun violence prevention space, said Mariah Cooley, March For Our Lives Board Member. “The violence where people often say “He was involved with the wrong crowd.” But do you ever think, maybe it was the lack of resources for basic needs that led these people to result to other means to make a living? Gun violence is an intersectional issue and I want to make sure you all understand that – no matter your race, your economic status, your upbringing, or your political affiliation. Gun violence can and will disrupt your livelihood unless we stand up to those who are fighting against us.”
“We’re stepping up — we’re not saying we’re done,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty. “California has checked most of the boxes, but we’re right back at it. The Supreme Court has ruled on some very dangerous measures that make our communities unsafe. So, we must push the envelope. We’re drafting bills right now to make sure this is yesterday’s news.”
“From our local chapter projects to state and national campaigns like these, we believe it is critical to empower the younger generations to get involved in social justice work as early as possible,” said Christopher Kwok, Co-Lead of the MFOL Sequoia Union chapter. “Although this rally is coming to a close, the fight against gun violence does not stop here. It is the actions we take after this event such as educating your community and engaging with grassroots initiatives like MFOL that we want to urge.”
The Sacramento rally was just one of many held this week to mark the fifth anniversary of the first March For Our Lives in 2018. These rallies sent a simple message: Young people refuse to die waiting for change. We will continue to fight for our lives. And we intend to win.