What others say: Parkland students evoke action of 50 years ago

Music is healing. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School put that theory on display Sunday night in New York with their stirring performance at the Tony Awards — beautifully.

The students, all from the school’s drama department, brought the house down singing the powerful “Seasons of Love,” from “Rent,” as survivors of the Feb. 14 massacre at their Parkland school where 17 died.

They touched millions of people with their moving message. This summer, many of their classmates also have a moving message: Register to vote — then vote!

On Thursday, a large group of Stoneman Douglas graduates will set out on a nationwide summer bus tour to bring about change in America. Half a century ago, it was students protesting the Vietnam War. Today, the students’ mission is to end a domestic war, one we’re waging on ourselves through gun violence.

The day after they received their diplomas — four seniors killed in the mass shooting received them posthumously — the grads announced the March for Our Lives tour. They will raise gun-control awareness and push for reform, likely going mano a mano with the NRA publicity machine. They will also be registering teens in time to vote in the midterm elections this November. They’ve got a big hurdle to clear. Millennials, who include 18 and 19 year olds, have the lowest voter turnout of any age group. Registering them will be easy, moving them to the voting booth, perhaps, not so much.

The bus tour is an offshoot of the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C., and Tallahassee in March. There will be two tours: One will make 75 stops in 20 states, with a separate statewide tour that will visit all 27 congressional districts in Florida. It’s an ambitious project. It all begins Thursday with a peace march in Chicago, led by students from St. Sabina Academy.

The tours are being funded by donations made by people from around the country. A dollar amount was not disclosed. Donations are accepted through the March for Our Lives website. It’s imperative that students and their advisers are meticulous and transparent with their finances. They should not let even a whiff of carelessness compromise the integrity of their righteous mission.

Their movement already has made an impact. In Florida, Gov. Scott signed into law a $400 million bill that raised the minimum age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21, banned bump stocks and imposed a three-day waiting period on gun sales. Florida is also one of four states to pass a “red flag law,” allowing law enforcement to temporarily confiscate firearms from people found to pose a threat to themselves or others.

The biggest chance to bring about change will come in November. Though the student group will not officially endorse candidates, they plan to call out those who are receiving money from the NRA and have regressive views on gun reform. The issue is of vital importance and, in that spirit, the Miami Herald Editorial Board will be asking candidates it interviews their stance on gun-control issues.

If these Parkland students can turn inaction into action, nonvoters into voters and bring more souls to the polls in November, they would have accomplished something special, just like those young Americans did 50 years ago.

— The Miami Herald, June 12, 2018

More in Opinion

Apayauq Reitan, the first transgender woman to participate in the Iditarod, tells the House Education Committee on March 30, 2023, why she opposes a bill restricting transgender rights. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: The imaginary transgender sports crisis

House Bill 183 is a right-wing solution to a problem that doesn’t exist now and never will.

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, a Nikiski Republican, speaks in favor of overriding a veto of Senate Bill 140 during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Session ends with budget, dividend and bills passed

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

The Alaska State Capitol. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Listen to PAs; support Senate Bill 115: Modernizing PA Practice in Alaska

Health care is rapidly evolving, demanding a more flexible and responsive system

Mount Redoubt can be seen across Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file photo)
Opinion: Hilcorp Alaska: Powering Southcentral Alaska — past, present and future

Hilcorp Alaska has and will continue to fully develop our Cook Inlet basin leasehold

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, a Nikiski Republican, speaks in favor of overriding a veto of Senate Bill 140 during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024 (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Collegiality matters

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Juneau Empire file photo
Larry Persily.
Opinion: Alaska might as well embrace the past

The governor, legislators, municipal officials and business leaders are worried that the Railbelt will run short of natural gas before the end of the decade

The Alaska State Capitol on March 1. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Physicians oppose Alaska Senate Bill 115 — Independent Practice for PAs

Alaskans don’t want access to just any health care, they want access to high quality care

Norm McDonald is the deputy director of Fire Protection for the Alaska Division of Forestry & Fire Protection. (Photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service)
The Swan Lake Fire can be seen from above on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alaska Wildland Fire Information)
Opinion: This wildfire prevention month, reflect on ways to protect each other and our communities from wildfire

Alaskans saw what happened in Canada last year, and they know it can happen here too

Jason Sodergren and retired veterinarian Ralph Broshes capture and attend to crane shot with an arrow, July 9, 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided by Nina Faust)
What happened to the ‘Arrowshot Crane’?

In many animal rescues, the outcome is fairly quickly known, but the… Continue reading