Parkland students determined to fight for gun reform
Their experiences are as unique as they are painful.
Few people in the world can understand what a mass shooting survivor has been through and what they deal with every day.
And that shared connection is one of the reasons survivors of the Parkland school shooting will meet with families of victims killed in the 2015 Dylann Roof Charleston church shooting.
As part of March For Our Lives: Road to Change, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., are traveling across the country. That gun-reform crusade tour includes a stop in Charleston on July 31.
The Road to Change has 50 planned stops in 20 states, and will start Friday in Chicago, according to marchforourlives.com.
The website says the purpose of the tour is "to get young people educated, registered, and motivated to vote" and to show "politicians that we refuse to accept gun violence as an unsolvable issue."
Among those scheduled to attend the Chicago event is Chance the Rapper and Academy Award-winning actress/singer Jennifer Hudson — whose mother, brother and nephew were shot to death, chicagotribune.com reported.
No guests have been announced for the Charleston stop, according to postandcourier.com .
The Charleston tour stop will include a "roundtable discussion" with the families of Mother Emanuel shooting victims, Jacob Gamble of the Lowcountry Students for Political Action said in a charlestoncitypaper.com report.
Gamble said the stop will include a "town hall with several state and national politicians," according to postandcourier.com.
"We will be discussing with survivors of the Mother Emanuel church shooting, organizing a town hall and registering as many new voters as possible," Parkland student Jaclyn Corin told charlestoncitypaper.com.
Dylann Roof, a self-avowed white supremacist, murdered nine black parishioners in June 2015 during a Bible study session at Charleston's historic Mother Emanuel AME Church. Roof purposely selected that church because of its black parishioners, and he told FBI agents he was hoping to start a race war.
Roof pleaded guilty to nine counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. He is on death row in Indiana.
In February, 17 people, including 14 students, died in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Since that shooting, many of the surviving students have spoken out against gun violence, advocated stricter gun laws and challenged politicians and the 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," the Road to Change website reads.