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Roving Teen Reporter
March for Our Lives

Dhathry Doppalapudi | Torrey Pines High School Senior

Graphic Virginia Lawrence.

February 14th is a day that, for most people, signifies love and happiness. For others, though, it brings back traumatic memories of a horrible, heartbreaking event in which many young lives were lost to gun violence: the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This tragedy ignited the student-led March for Our Lives movement against gun violence and for increased gun legislation, most notably universal background checks, bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and red flag laws. The movement started with a nationwide protest on March 24, 2018, which became the largest youth-led protest to occur since the Vietnam War. Now, two years later, the movement’s momentum has slowed but not disappeared.

Jasmine, a sophomore at Torrey Pines High School, was a student organizer for the San Diego march in 2018. “I remember being horrified when I first heard the news [about the Parkland shooting], then I heard a few days later about how the Parkland kids were organizing and I thought it was really inspiring,” Jasmine said. “I think Parkland was different because there was a general feeling that people were done and demanded change.”

Another reason that students paid more attention to the March for Our Lives movement was that it was led by fellow students. “The fact that it’s student-led is very important because school shootings obviously affect us the most directly and impact our daily lives, even here at Torrey Pines,” said Bea, a senior. “Knowing that this could happen at any moment is kind of this cloud that hangs over all the students.”

Since the tragedy in Parkland, many states have improved their gun laws, some by banning bump stocks and expanding background check legislation. Although she appreciates the changes that have been made, Jasmine says, she insists that this is not enough. “I would like to see changes being made at a federal level. I want universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons, better mental health resources for students, and red flag laws.”

March for Our Lives has now turned away from protests and towards a plan that they call “A Peace Plan for a Safer America.” Among other things in this plan, the group intends to implement a gun buy-back program to reduce the number of guns in circulation, declare a state of national emergency for gun violence, and initiate government investigations into the National Rifle Association.

“The youngest ones in any generation have been the biggest advocates for change because they are going to be the ones to live with these laws for decades to come,” Jasmine said. This issue hits hard for the teenagers in our generation because in our increasingly complex and interconnected world, even if we have not experienced this violence firsthand, we have seen and heard from others like us who have. We understand the impacts of these tragedies that occur far too often and we do not want to be next.

 

 

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