Survivors of Parkland shooting plan Morristown rally, Aug. 9

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By Carly Cannavina

Survivors of the Valentine’s Day high school shooting in Parkland FL plan to visit Morristown on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, on their Road to Change bus tour.

They have requested use of Lidgerwood Park from 11 am to 3 pm.

The tour is an offshoot of the national March for Our Lives movement, inspired by survivors of the shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Greater Morristown high school students organized a march that brought an estimated crowd of 13,000 people to town in March.  That turnout–the largest in New Jersey–impressed tour organizers enough to add a Morristown stop, said Sarah Baum, co-founder of March for Our Lives New Jersey.

Students lead the Morristown March for Our Lives, March 24, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Students lead the Morristown March for Our Lives, March 24, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

This summer, Parkland survivors are in the midst of a tour with 50 planned stops in more than 20 states, including Iowa, Texas, California, South Carolina, and Connecticut. A separate tour of every Florida congressional district also was announced.

Many communities selected for the tour have been affected by gun violence, or are strongholds of the NRA, according to the March for Our Lives website.

Baum said the Morristown stop is envisioned as a picnic.

“It’s an informal event, a chance for March for Our Lives organizers to meet members of our community and vice versa,” she said, with food, activities, and tables for political organizations.
 

road to change tour skedThe teens and their supporters have been facilitating “rallies, town halls, voter registration, public displays, and community engagement,” their site says.

They are demanding comprehensive background checks for gun buyers; a digital revamp of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; increased funding for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research America’s gun violence epidemic; and bans on both high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic assault rifles.

Emma Gonzales and Cameron Kasky, key organizers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, have been speaking on the tour.

“I commend these young adults for taking these initiatives all over the country,” said Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, who supports their agenda. He said he hopes students will continue to make their voices heard at elections when they reach voting age.

Morristown also is an annual stop for Team 26, cyclists from Newtown CT who have lobbied lawmakers for gun reforms since the 2012 massacre of 26 pupils and staffers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Team leader Monte Frank speaks at Team 26 rally in Morristown, May 5, 2018. Photo by Katharine Boyle
Team leader Monte Frank speaks at Team 26 rally in Morristown, May 5, 2018. Photo by Katharine Boyle

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include comments from event organizer Sarah Baum.

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