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'It's Our Time and We Know What to Do': Activists Plan Next Steps After March For Our Lives

March 31, 2018 in Blogs

By Ilana Novick, AlterNet

First, they marched. Now, they vote.

Joaquin Oliver loved basketball. So much so, family friend Carol L. Chenkin told AlterNet, that his father, despite not being a huge sports fan, became his team’s coach as a way to bond with his son. On February 14, Joaquin was among the 17 people killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He was buried in Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat’s jersey.

Chenkin is now the executive director of Change the Ref, an organization started by Joaquin’s parents, Manuel and Patricia Oliver, to promote civic engagement and activism among youth determined to fight back against gun violence.

During the March for Our Lives last Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Americans descended on Washington, D.C. and cities across the country to protest political inaction on gun control and demand their representatives take a stand—or be voted out. The March for Our Lives was a galvanizing call to action, but it was only the beginning of a series of steps, all led by young people, to demand politicians pair their thoughts and prayers with policy change.

Students all over the country are now planning an April 20 nationwide walkout, with help from national groups like the Women's March Youth, whose site lists 49 walkouts and counting.

The Town Hall Project, an organization started after the 2016 election to demand that the 435 members of the House of Representatives hold public events where their constituents can hold them accountable, is encouraging Americans to demand their representatives have a “Town Hall For Our Lives” on April 7, specifically focused on gun control.

A group of students in Wisconsin even spent their spring break marching 50 miles from the capital of Milwaukee all the way to Paul Ryan’s home district in Janesville to demand gun control laws.

“50 Miles More has three asks for Paul Ryan and other politicians,” teen organizers Brendan Fardella, Katie Eder and Alemitu Caldart said in a joint interview with AlterNet.  

“The first is that all military-style weapons, weapons of war, should be banned from civilian …read more


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