Sallisaw students plan March for Our Lives
When the tragic shooting claiming 17 lives in Florida took place on Feb. 14, a couple of Sallisaw High School students wanted to participate in the national “March for Our Lives,” but since they could not locate a march nearby, they began to organize one in Oklahoma City.
With the help of Mom's Demand Action, Jamie Pool and James Limbaugh, both members of the Sallisaw High School Honor Team, are organizing a march to be held simultaneously along with many others throughout the country on March 24 along Lincoln Boulevard and leading to the state capitol.
“As we saw the shooting unfold in Florida, it hit home. It could have been any one of us,” Pool said.
“So we wanted to show our support. We wanted to bring awareness and support for the victims and raise awareness to saving lives.”
Pool said participants will gather at 11 a.m. at the Oklahoma County Election Board office in Oklahoma City and the march will begin there at noon.
“I never realized there was so much to organizing a march such as the paperwork involved, getting permits, the sound system, stage and fundraising,” she said. With help from their fellow honor team members and other student participants, Pool said they will be holding meetings, making signs and selling T-shirts along with other fund raisers for the march.
“We're getting a lot of help from Mom's Demand Action but we welcome help from anyone,” she said.
“We're hoping to get at least a thousand participants for the march. We have a few students from Sequoyah County including some from Muldrow and Central who want to march also but by bringing awareness, we hope to pick up more students from all over.”
The official mission statement of “March for Our Lives,” states “In the tragic wake of the 17 lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March for Our Lives believes the time is now.”
On March 24, organizers of the march plan to take over Washington, D.C., as well as several other major cities throughout the nation for speeches, tributes and musical performances. Celebrities and politicians have come out in support of the students and have made contributions to support the marches.
“In America, we have a big problem with safety in our schools and a change needs to happen,” Limbaugh said.
“We need change in mental health, gun safety, school safety reform. Our school may be safe and our administration has taken steps to keep us safe but not every school is, and that's why we need to work on reform,” he said.
“But even if we feel our school is safe, I'm sure Majory Stoneman Douglas High School thought their's was safe too. This can affect anyone anywhere,” he added.
Limbaugh and Pool said the message about the march has been shared on social media sites on facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Both said their parents are supporting them in their efforts.
“My mom's for it and she's trying to get more involved but I keep telling her it's a student-led effort and it's something we want more involvement from other students,” Limbaugh said.
Pool said she is excited about the event and welcomes any and all students to participate.
“We want to bring awareness and support and hopefully get better gun control. We need comprehensive background checks, mandatory training and limited access to assault rifles.”
The march in Washington, will take place at 10 a.m. with marches in other cities across the U.S. including New York City, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago which are planned. All information or to register with March for Our Lives can be located on their facebook page.
The mission statement for the movement, written by the organizers of March for Our Lives is:
“The top priority is to save lives. School safety is not a political issue. There cannot be two sides to doing everything in our power to ensure the lives and futures of children who are at risk of dying when they should be learning, playing and growing.
“The mission and focus of March for Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues. No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.”