The Parkland Shooting, and What it Means for Student Activism

Thousands of mourners attend a candlelight vigil for victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 15, 2018. A former student, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire at the Florida high school leaving 17 people dead and 15 injured. / AFP PHOTO / RHONA WISERHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Image

Less than two weeks ago, 17 lives were lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Yet these words cannot display the weight and importance that each of those lives holds. Those students were just beginning their lives, and the teachers risked theirs to save those students. The student survivors in the last two weeks have worked make sure, as student Emma Gonzáles states, “We’re going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, because we are going to be the last mass shooting.”

Many of us students at Central Catholic do not have the right to vote. However, students like Emma Gonzáles have already began to organize “A March for Our Lives,” which is planned to take place next month. They are proof that our actions as students matter and have the power to impact legislation. Since the Parkland mass shooting, the following actions have been taken: multiple companies have cut ties with the NRA including National Car Rental, MetLife, Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and Symantec, held a CNN town hall with Marco Rubio, and President Trump called for a bump stock ban, which will ban a device that allows for a legal weapon to be turned into a machine gun. This is thanks to the words and powers of the Parkland students.

Legislators, including U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, are still receiving funding from the National Rifle Association. In Oregon, U.S. Representative Greg Walden (Republican, Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District) and Kurt Schrader (Democrat, Oregon’s 5th Congressional District) have accepted donations from the NRA going towards their campaign. It is our civic duty to do something about this.

Recently, Oregon passed the “Boyfriend Bill,” which prevents those who have been charged with domestic violence from owning guns. This is a huge step in response to Parkland shooting. However, no town hall meeting has been set. There are three upcoming city council meetings. This is a great opportunity to get students involved.

We, as students, cannot continue to allow the indifference toward each school shooting. We need to stand up against gun violence, for the sake of our education, and our lives. We need to push for change. Let’s follow in the footsteps of Stoneman Douglas students. Here are three things you can do right now.

  • Get Online. Let family members, friends, and members of the community hear your voice and concerns, because they matter. Go onto Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and call for legislators to stop taking money from the NRA and vote in support of gun control, or explain why you believe in gun rights and call your legislators to support the second amendment. Whatever your opinion is, let it be heard
  • March. If you are against gun violence and wish Parkland to be the last school shooting, join “The March for Our Lives.” This will take place in Washington, and cities across the country on March 24th. In addition, there will be a National School walkout on March 14th at 10:00 am, across all time zones, to protest Congress’ inaction towards gun control.
  • Talk or meet with your Representative. Representatives desire youth opinions, so let them hear yours by emailing them or calling their office. Another great way to get in touch with them is via city council and town hall meetings. Currently, there are no upcoming town hall dates, but the next city council meeting is February 28th from 2- 5 pm downtown. The emails of Oregon’s Representatives are listed below in addition to their websites.