A survivor and former students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida continue to travel the nation to raise awareness against gun violence a year after a gunman shot and killed 17 of their peers, they now take their message grassroots and into local schools.
The auditorium at Palm Springs High School was full of engaged students who listened as three former MSDHS students spoke about their movement that sparked from a massacre last Valentine’s Day.
Brandon Duff an alumnus who was on the phone with a student inside the high school while the shooting happened. He said they want to spark a national conversation against gun-violence.
Duff said, “We’re building out our chapters making sure we have boots on the ground to everywhere in the nation because this is obviously a uniquely American problem.”
A problem that affected him and his classmates personally, Matt Deitch is also a former student of MSDHS, he was a student at Santa Monica College when the attack took place. He said he wanted to return and help his classmates begin a campaign to call on elected officials to revise gun laws in order to prevent future attacks.
The campaign “March for our Lives” was founded by the Parkland students, and just a month after the attack the students used that organization to host a nation-wide march, where 800 cities including Palm Springs joined the cause.
“I met people who had survived the Vegas shooting at the march, it was five months after they had survived the shooting it was the first place they felt comfortable enough to talk about it to people,” Deitch said. “Whether it was in front of a few hundred people a few thousand people, tens of thousands of people they are actually addressing what they’re going through, which is what we have to do with this epidemic, we have to talk about the reality of gun violence. “
David Hogg, who is now a former student of the high school was present during the shooting. He said mass-shootings are a problem that affects all generations and said last year’s march was to build momentum, but this year is about building a coalition against gun-violence.
“It doesn’t matter if our politicians are not listening to us currently,” Hogg said. “Because in two years we have an election coming up and young people in Palm Springs and I am sure other places will run for office to make sure they are accurately represented.”
The three students also hosted a discussion with students at College of the Desert. After, the students attended a fundraiser inside the home of Palm Springs’ Mayor Pro Tem, Geoff Kors, where locals raised donations for the organization March for our Lives.