Survivors of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year have hit the road this summer.
The ‘March for our Lives Road to Change’ tour stopped in Atlanta Sunday for an appearance at the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts. The event featured speakers from the national ‘March for Our Lives’ movement, local entertainers, and activists.
‘Fear Has No Place’
Parkland survivor Jaclyn Corin described hiding behind a couch in her classroom during the shooting.
“My heart was pounding, my stomach was dropping, my mind was spinning, all the while feeling helpless knowing gunshots were raining down on my classmates nearby,” she said. “That kind of fear has no place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. That kind of fear has no place in any school in this nation.”
Corin is now part of a movement that’s pushing for gun violence prevention. Martin Luther King III compared it to the 1963 children’s crusade in Birmingham, Alabama.
“This is an issue that is so pertinent to our nation, and really our world,” King said. “And so, I’m excited because I have never–or not recently–seen a movement like this.”
Also attending was Antoinette Tuff, the former school secretary who talked a gunman out of shooting anyone at a DeKalb Elementary school five years ago. She urged the crowd to vote for elected officials who support gun reform.
“No longer are we going to allow guns to come into our schools,” Tuff said. “No longer are they going to come into our communities, and no longer are we going to be silent.”
Getting to the Polls
Voter registration is a big focus for ‘The Road to Change’ tour. Jammal Lemy, a 2016 Douglas graduate, says the group signs up voters in every city it visits.
“It’s kind of drilling into people’s heads, ‘Ok, you’re registered now? Go out and vote,'” Lemy said.
Early signs are encouraging for the group. Data show youth voter registration rates have increased in battleground states since the Parkland shooting.
But Lemy, an African-American student, also said the country still has work to do when it comes to including communities of color in conversations about gun reform.
“The sad reality is, being a person of color, coming from that [Parkland] area…America cared because it came from suburban, white America,” he said.