With Mayor Jenny Durkan set to lead a town hall Thursday night addressing the youth-led push against gun violence, a coalition of students from across the state has announced its members will be part of the March 24th protest march slated to begin on Capitol Hill:
A coalition of Washington State students today announced that they are working to unite their communities to stand in solidarity with the March for Our Lives protest, a student-led demonstration created in response to the most recent mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Protest marches are scheduled throughout the country on Saturday, March 24, 2018. Seattle’s demonstration begins at 10:00 a.m. at Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill and will be marching to Key Arena.
Maple Valley student Rhiannon Rasaretnam tells CHS she was inspired by the student activism at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the wake of the Valentine’s Day deadly mass shooting at the school. “I feel like youth around the nation seeing that students can take the lead on this inspires them to increase their own role in their own community,” Rasaretnam said. “I want the focus to be on the face a lot of these marches are being led by the students.”
The Tahoma High School student is joining Ballard High’s Emilia Allard to organize the coalition effort that they say also includes students from public and private schools in Gig Harbor, Marysville, South Seattle, and other local communities. Rasaretnam said that students gathering in Seattle from communities across the region is an important part of the message.
The Seattle component of the nationwide March for Our Lives effort is planning to gather on 11th Ave on March 24th for the march to Seattle Center. Everytown, a nonprofit dedicated to gun control and addressing gun violence led by Michael Bloomberg, is helping to organize the events.
UPDATE 3/12/2018: With Reel Grrls signed up to help as a fiscal sponsor, March for Our Lives Seattle organizers are working to raise $50,000 to put on the March 24th protest march. “We ask the community to help us raise the funds to pay for necessary expenditures such as permits, security, transportation for youth across the state, promotional materials, and to launch the #Raceto18 – a voter registration campaign for teens across America,” the group writes. You can give here. They’re currently at 30% of the $50,000 goal.
Last month, Seattle Schools threw its support behind the march as well as student walkouts planned for next week.
Schools and student groups are planning walkouts during the school day on Wednesday, March 14th — though many of the efforts are being planned as short, symbolic protests.
Rasaretnam said she also plans to be part of the 3/14 walkouts. “All of these actions are drawing attention to the fact that students are the ones holding elected officials accountable,” she said.
“The students’ call-to-action for state and national elected officials is to work towards firmer gun control measures that include banning assault rifles, banning bump stocks nationally, raising the age for gun purchases from 18 to 21, ensuring school safety without use of firearms, and calling on members of Congress and corporations to stop accepting support from or providing support for the NRA,” a statement from the coalition reads.
Thursday night’s town hall with Mayor Durkan will be held at Chief Sealth International High School “with Seattle and Puget Sound-area students, educators, parents, community leaders and public health officials to discuss reducing gun violence in Seattle and around our country.”
“Seattle residents must be safe in their neighborhoods, homes, and schools. Schools are meant for joy and learning – they are not meant for lock downs and mass shootings. Our young people are standing up to reduce gun violence, and we should listen,” Durkan said in a statement.
The town hall runs 6:30 to 7:30 PM and will feature questions from students moderated by Natalie Brand of KING 5 and KUOW’s Ross Reynolds.
You can watch the event live here via Seattle Channel:
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