As part of a nationwide tour in support of gun control and voter registration, March For Our Lives founders joined Wisconsin student activists at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison Friday.
The town hall and voting registration party was headed by the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland Fl., where 17 people were shot and killed in February. Students from Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison were also among them.
Earlier in the day, the tour made a stop at the Janesville office of House Speaker Paul Ryan, where the group delivered a copy of H.R. 4240, a bill which includes legislation for universal background checks on firearms, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. On Saturday, the tour will stop in Milwaukee before it heads to Minnesota.
“In the same way you have the right to bear arms, we have the right to live,” Parkland student David Hogg said.
The town hall comes roughly three months after Parkland and Wisconsin student activists organized two separate gun-control protests in Madison. The first, on March 14, drew thousands of Wisconsin high school students to the steps of the Capitol on National School Walkout Day. The second, on March 24, drew 2,500 Madison locals to the Capitol as part of the nationwide March for Our Lives protests.
Parkland students Ryan Deitsch and Jaclyn Corin said the purpose of their organization and the Road To Change tour –which kicked off on June 15 in Chicago – is creating a network of young people who are educated on gun violence and encouraging them and others to vote so they can affect policy.
Corin emphasized that their group is not trying to attack the views of others’, like the National Rifle Association, but is trying to come to a mutual understanding that will keep children safe.
‘March for Our Lives’: Madison community rallies behind high school students advocating for gun reformLess than two weeks after Madison’s grade school and university students walked out of class to the state capitol to Read…
Emayu Edari-Sellassie, a recent graduate of Madison West High School, said the goal should be better gun regulation, not increasing security in schools, because students of color are still subjected to racial discrimination and biases by security forces within the walls of their schools.
“We have become desensitized to this issue because of how common it is portrayed in the media,” Edari-Sellassie said. “It is important to make this a more personal issue by sharing each others stories and touching each others hearts.”
In response to a question from Elliana Bogost, a sophomore at University of Wisconsin, who asked how to start her own effective movement on campus, the panelists said starting clubs with people who are interested in the same issue, registering people to vote for absentee ballots, starting with small, achievable goals and talking to local representatives are all powerful ways to make change.
In wake of Parkland shooting, Wisconsin legislators argue over best gun violence prevention methodFollowing last month’s fatal shooting in Parkland, Florida, Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin clashed in the legislature over how Read…
The town hall was followed by a voting registration party, where students and local organizations set up tables and registered attendees to vote. Others sold merchandise –including a t-shirt with a QR code embedded which, when scanned, would redirect people to a site where they could register to vote – with proceeds going to the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort.
“We can stop the deaths by you guys voting, standing up and creating positive and effective change – not just in your community, but in every community,” Hogg said.