School might be out, but it will not be a quiet and carefree summer for the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the place where yet another mass shooting happened on Feb. 14, during which 17 people lost their lives, and which led to the birth of the Never Again gun control movement, organized by the students who survived the massacre.
After the end of the school year, many of the students at the Parkland school decided to bring their political activism on the road, embarking on a two-month-long bus tour under the name March For Our Lives: Road to Change. Their itinerary includes more than 50 stops in 20 states, with the goal of reaching and rallying young voters and raising their awareness on the issue of guns and the campaign to introduce gun control.
During the press conference before the start of the tour, the students said that one of the main goals of their journey will be to educate potential voters and get them to make a conscious choice at the polls. “We can march. We can bring our politicians into a new light and make sure they are being held accountable. But at the end of the day, real change is brought from voting,” said Cameron Kasky, one of the students. “The best thing you can possibly do is vote.”
From the beginning, this movement made up of high school students has demonstrated a great awareness of the power of the individual vote. On each occasion, the young men and women have repeated that those among them who will be of voting age for the midterm elections in November will not vote for candidates who do not take a strong position on gun control, and will not vote for those who have close ties to the gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“We’re going to places where the NRA has bought and paid for politicians who refuse to take simple steps to save our lives—and we’ll be visiting a number of communities that have been affected by gun violence to meet fellow survivors and use our voices to amplify theirs,” reads the students’ statement.
Part of the group that started off from Florida are also the most famous faces of the movement: Cameron Kasky and the newly graduated Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, who, together with other students and young activists from around the country, are trying to get their peers involved, diversifying their message depending on the local situations they encounter. On the first stop of the tour, in Chicago—a city that sees more shooting wars between rival street gangs than mass shootings—most of their meetings were focused on the need to decrease the number of weapons available for committing urban violence.
In March, hundreds of thousands of people took part in the “March For Our Lives,” organized in Washington, DC, by the Parkland survivors. It was already clear back then that Never Again was a movement that was here to stay and that was intent on making a difference. “We showed our politicians that we refuse to accept gun violence as an unsolvable issue. Now it’s time to turn our energy into action,” reads the website set up for the tour.