It seems that everyone agrees that students deserve to be able to learn in safe school environment, but everyone has a different opinion of just how to accomplish this feat.
In response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed, thousands of youth all around the country began to demand safety in schools from legislators and other officials.
The “March For Our Lives” movement started when survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting and their families made plans to march on the streets of Washington, D.C. on March 24, 2018 to demand that their lives and safety become a priority, and for an end to gun violence and mass shootings in schools in the United States.
Local area high school students organized a “March for Our Lives” event in Annapolis to also take place on March 24 with help of the nonpartisan organization, “March on Maryland.” To support the student’s efforts, the organiza- tion agreed to provide assistance with permits and logistics, and will serve as a sponsor for the event.
Beginning at 11 a.m. at Lawyer’s Mall, located at 100 State Circle, students and supporters plan to march down Main Street in Annapolis to Susan Campbell Park, where they will sign a banner requesting that state officials address the gun violence issues affecting student safety. “March For Our Lives Annapolis” will include rallying with both adult and student speakers.
Outspoken lead organizer, 16-year old Mackenzie Boughey hopes that the momentum will not end when everyone heads home. The 10th grade Severn School student says that she wants to show that youth should be able to speak up about what they believe in at a young age.
“I was watching the TV interviews by the Parkland students about week after the shooting and I was just really inspired by them, and wanted to do something in Annapolis to help their cause,” Mackenzie said. “The overall message I guess is just telling how everyone— whether young or old, or no matter race or politics, this is an issue that needs to be addressed, because there’s gun violence in schools, but anyone can be impacted by gun violence. So we’re really just trying to come together as a community to and stop this, and to try to make something happen.”
Six students organizers who are enrolled in local private and public schools have been busy coordinating the event, spreading the word through social media and mobilizing the community. As a result, approximately 1,000 people are expected to attend “March For Our Lives Annapolis” event. Although everyone is welcome to attend the event, the young activists hope that students of all ages will come out to share their voices.
Over 188 legislators have been invited to come out to hear what the event speakers have to say and organizers hope it will lead to action.
“But what I truly want to see happen is action. I would really like to see our [legislators] do something after seeing all of these people come together,” Mackenzie said. “We’re trying to show that our generation can have a voice right now. We will be voting soon. A lot of us are already registered. I feel like the earlier you [we] get started on all of this, the better it will be.”
Maya Rogalski, a twelfth grade student at Northeast High School who is working with Mackenzie to organize the march has also agreed to speak on Saturday. She feels that some students have been desensitized by gun violence but she hopes that people get a better understanding of what student activists are trying to accomplish with the marches in all 50 states and will help fight for the cause of advocating for gun control and school safety.
To register for the “March for Our Lives Annapolis” event, visit: https://www.facebook.com/MarchForOurLivesAnnapolis/. Registration is not required but organizers welcome it.