SEVERE WX : Special Weather Statement View Alerts

11-year-old: Never again for black girls too

"I represent the African American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics," said 11-year-old Naomi Wadler in a speech for #MarchForOurLives.

Posted: Mar 26, 2018 6:53 PM
Updated: Mar 26, 2018 6:53 PM

Just five weeks ago, a gunman killed 17 of their friends and teachers at school and changed the course of their lives. This weekend, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School led a historic march for gun control, what they called a March for Our Lives.

Here's how the Parkland, Florida, students went from experiencing a mass tragedy to launching a mass movement.

They took immediate action

Within days of the February 14 shooting, the students made clear that thoughts and prayers were not enough for them -- they wanted concrete legislative solutions to the epidemic of mass shootings and an end to the influence of the National Rifle Association.

At a rally in Fort Lauderdale, senior Emma González called BS on politicians who said no law could have prevented the massacre.

"Maybe the adults have gotten used to saying 'it is what it is,' but if us students have learned anything, it's that if you don't study, you will fail," González said. "And in this case if you actively do nothing, people continually end up dead, so it's time to start doing something."

Her classmates insisted that the time for action was now, and that could help them heal. They adopted the rallying cry #NeverAgain, and a nascent movement formed.

They engaged with the media

National news outlets descended on Parkland to cover the shooting. They found survivors willing to relive the most terrifying moments of their lives and connect them to policies on gun violence.

Seniors David Hogg, an aspiring broadcast journalist, and González, president of her school's Gay-Straight Alliance, remained poised and eloquent as they fielded reporters' questions.

Junior Cameron Kasky laid out the stakes in a CNN opinion article: "We can't ignore the issues of gun control that this tragedy raises. And so, I'm asking -- no, demanding -- we take action now."

They announced plans to march

By February 18, the students put everyone on notice: They planned to march for their lives in Washington on March 24.

From the start, they pledged to center students' voices as gun violence survivors and future voters and invited teens across the country to join them.

"One of the things we've been hearing is that it's not the time yet to talk about gun control," Kasky said. "So here's the time that we're going to talk about gun control: March 24."

The rally was intended to give students everywhere a chance to "beg for their lives," he said.

The march had three primary demands:

- Pass a law to ban the assault weapons;

- Stop the sale of high-capacity magazines;

- Implement laws that require background checks on all gun purchases, including online and at gun shows.

They raised funds

A GoFundMe campaign to support the rally raised more than $1.7 million in three days on top of $2 million in private donations from Hollywood personalities including George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

The funds would make the March 24 rally possible, paying for supplies, equipment and coordination of the massive event. As of Sunday, more than 42,000 people had donated nearly $3.5 million to the online fundraiser.

They built excitement through small victories

While some shooting victims were still hospitalized and funerals were beginning, students boarded a bus to the state capitol for a lobbying day.

The experience galvanized them in different directions, and many continued to fight along with Stoneman Douglas parents at the state level for stricter gun laws. They didn't get the assault weapons ban they wanted. But they took heart in Gov. Rick Scott's passage of measures opposed by the NRA, such as raising the minimum age for gun purchases.

Momentum grew for their cause as companies cut ties with the NRA. At a CNN town hall, they went head to head with Sen. Marco Rubio and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch on gun laws.

Meanwhile, they continued to put pressure on the federal government to pass universal background checks.

On March 14, one month after the shooting, scores of students across the United States walked out of class to honor the 17 victims and make sure that calls for change take into account the broader context of gun violence.

"We are standing in solidarity with the youth from the mass shooting, but we also know the repercussions of what's going to happen next could fall on black and brown people," said Keno Walker, who helped high school students organize walkouts in Miami.

They welcomed support

As #NeverAgain supporters set their sights on the Washington rally, partner organizations stepped up.

Giffords, the gun safety advocacy group named for congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a mass shooting survivor, provided transportation to Washington for some Stoneman Douglas families with the help of New England Patriots CEO Robert Kraft, who provided the team's jet to help families get to Washington.

Other Stoneman Douglas students traveled with families and friends to the march. Senior Julia Bishop said she chose to attend the rally in Washington in order to "feel the heart of support" contained within the movement.

"I wanted to stand on Capitol Hill in the shadow of our country's legislature and express how truly enraged I am that my friends are now dead due to gun violence and there had been nothing done about it."

Everytown for Gun Safety supplied operational and logistical resources for marches in Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and New Orleans, the group said Sunday. Additionally, the organization said it gave out $5,000 grants to more than 200 local organizers across the country to ensure they had operational resources. The group helped to support transportation for students from cities including Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, New York City, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to travel to the march in D.C.

Ben and Jerry's also chipped in with grants to fund bus transportation to the march.

For entertainment, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Common, Demi Lovato and Vic Mensa committed to performing.

Meanwhile, people in the nation's capital lent a hand. Eleven mothers from metro D.C. banded together to find free housing for participants from out of town. Chef José Andrés' ThinkFoodGroup and various DC restaurants offered free and discounted food to student marchers.

They invited more voices

The day before the rally, Stoneman Douglas senior David Hogg said the media's biggest mistake while covering the school's shooting was "not giving black students a voice."

When they took the stage at March for Our Lives, Hogg and his classmates made sure to not make the same mistake. Speakers from Chicago, Brooklyn and Los Angeles also appeared onstage to describe how gun violence affected their communities.

"We recognize that Parkland received more attention because of its affluence," Jaclyn Corin, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, said in her speech. "But we share this stage today and forever with those communities who have always stared down the barrel of a gun."

Corin was joined onstage by Yolanda Renee King, Martin Luther King Jr.'s granddaughter. The 9-year-old said that like her grandfather, she too has a dream, in which "enough is enough."

Naomi Wadler, an elementary school student from Virginia, said she was speaking on behalf of African-American girls "whose stories don't make the front page" of national newspapers.

They encouraged everyone to attend

The students invited others to join them and provided a toolkit to help people organize their own marches. More than 800 groups marched in cities across the US and internationally, including in London, Madrid, Rome and Tokyo.

In Boston, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduate Leslie Chiu said the march was about gun violence in general, not just school shootings.

"This is not just in Parkland," she said. "It is in every community, especially those of color. ... This is not a moment. This is a movement."

They promised there's more to come

Student-activists elswhere are calling for another national walkout on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. The Network for Public Education is urging people on the same day to to bring attention to school safety through walkouts, sit-ins or rallies.

Otherwise, #NeverAgain is turning its attention to the November midterms to vote out politicians who don't appear to support gun law reform.

"They've gotten used to being protective of their position, the safety of inaction," Hogg told the crowd in Washington on Saturday.

"To those politicians supported by the NRA that allow the continued slaughter of our children and our future, I say get your resumés ready."

READ: Slacktivism is over. The #NeverAgain movement is about what's next

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 480845

Reported Deaths: 6511
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin997381576
Ramsey42744796
Dakota35818383
Anoka33010383
Washington21862253
Stearns18683200
St. Louis14655262
Scott13119107
Wright12414114
Olmsted1170088
Sherburne866373
Carver756340
Clay683686
Rice664291
Blue Earth587235
Kandiyohi576674
Crow Wing514780
Chisago493644
Otter Tail479470
Benton441390
Winona414248
Mower400231
Douglas390768
Nobles385347
Goodhue383368
Polk341062
McLeod336349
Beltrami335350
Morrison321846
Lyon311543
Itasca308545
Becker307841
Isanti303453
Carlton298544
Steele297611
Pine280616
Freeborn276823
Nicollet252341
Todd244030
Brown240737
Le Sueur230520
Mille Lacs225747
Cass218124
Waseca206917
Meeker205534
Martin186728
Wabasha18543
Roseau178317
Hubbard159740
Houston156414
Dodge15124
Renville147340
Redwood146327
Fillmore13648
Chippewa135735
Cottonwood133520
Wadena128120
Pennington127016
Faribault121716
Aitkin117833
Sibley116410
Rock115513
Watonwan11518
Kanabec106719
Pipestone100724
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9418
Jackson92510
Swift87218
Pope7885
Marshall76815
Stevens7378
Lake72617
Clearwater71514
Lac qui Parle68216
Wilkin66510
Koochiching61711
Big Stone5123
Lincoln5032
Grant4888
Norman4648
Mahnomen4377
Unassigned43668
Kittson40721
Red Lake3544
Traverse3015
Lake of the Woods2131
Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 359747

Reported Deaths: 5357
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57625545
Linn20536311
Scott18203205
Black Hawk16187286
Woodbury14875211
Johnson1374173
Dubuque13480194
Dallas1123790
Pottawattamie10716140
Story1012945
Warren550271
Clinton540783
Cerro Gordo531080
Webster515686
Marshall493772
Sioux491568
Buena Vista469736
Des Moines455059
Muscatine446789
Wapello4261107
Jasper406865
Plymouth393377
Lee373551
Marion356969
Jones293854
Henry292535
Carroll284048
Bremer276554
Crawford272035
Boone258230
Washington253145
Benton250454
Mahaska223145
Jackson220438
Dickinson216338
Tama211564
Kossuth206954
Clay192925
Hamilton191641
Delaware188539
Winneshiek186926
Fayette184033
Buchanan183630
Page181619
Hardin179638
Wright179131
Harrison178969
Cedar175522
Clayton168153
Butler165731
Floyd162439
Mills162420
Cherokee153535
Madison153418
Poweshiek153429
Hancock146529
Lyon145441
Iowa143823
Allamakee143644
Appanoose138447
Grundy138230
Jefferson137532
Winnebago137530
Calhoun133010
Cass132448
Mitchell130040
Louisa127941
Union125931
Chickasaw124613
Sac123718
Emmet120740
Shelby119933
Franklin118319
Humboldt116725
Guthrie116028
Montgomery104036
Palo Alto103921
Howard102421
Clarke99220
Keokuk97529
Unassigned9300
Monroe92628
Adair91626
Ida90732
Pocahontas85419
Davis82223
Monona81525
Greene76610
Lucas73121
Osceola70014
Worth6907
Taylor66312
Fremont5869
Decatur5729
Van Buren55818
Ringgold51416
Wayne48621
Audubon4839
Adams3244
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
29° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 22°
Mason City
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 19°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 20°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 16°
Feels Like: 21°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 20°
Minor snow chances into the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Aaron's Thursday Evening Forecast

Image

Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be reviewed tomorrow

Image

Minnesota announces new vaccine timeline

Image

Assisted Living allowing visitors

Image

Iowa Vaccine rollout timeline

Image

Catalytic Converter Thefts Continue

Image

Community Kitchen Serves More Meals During The Pandemic

Image

MercyOne North Iowa Wait List For Vaccine

Image

LTC Facilities Advocate For Vaccinations

Image

02-25-2021 for Bri

Community Events