Following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14 that killed 17 people, a group of students from the school organized a cross-country protest against gun violence called March For Our Lives. Protests are expected to take place in cities throughout the weekend, and the march in New York City will take place on Saturday. And as expected, people have a lot of questions about the NYC march, including who will speak at the rally before the protest begins. As it turns out, the NYC March For Our Lives speakers each have a personal connection to gun violence, and you won't want to miss hearing their stories.
Planning a large scale event is no easy feat (30,000 people are expected to attend in NYC), especially when you have a short time span to do so. Despite all the logistical hurdles, however, NYC march organizers are doing their best to get the event put together before thousands take to the streets to advocate for stricter gun safety laws.
That being said, have NYC March For Our Lives event organizers hammered out the list of confirmed speakers yet? Well, yes and no.
"We are in the process of inviting speakers who have been impacted by gun violence, including a Parkland student," the event's Facebook page reads. "This is not about politics or photo-ops, this is about STUDENTS and all victims of gun violence. We are planning on keeping a tight schedule, and our speakers will go on at 11 AM - so we ask you to begin arriving at 10 AM. We are working with a vendor to have several blocks of sound equipment and screens where possible."
As for who the Parkland student might be, AM New York reported on Thursday that 16-year-old Sam Hendler is confirmed to speak at the NYC rally.
When asked why he plans to speak at the event, Hendler explained, according to AM New York:
It definitely helps me personally, because you can see everyone in the community and around the nation are coming together for one cause. And it’s an important cause that will eventually save lives and prevent more tragedies like this from happening. No lives should be lost due to the use of automatic weapons, and I just want to come together with everyone else in the nation who is supporting us to thank them and keep it going.
Although Hendler didn't elaborate on what he'll talk about specifically, one can assume he'll touch on his views about banning assault weapons and automatic rifles.
“I just believe that these are weapons of war and they should be kept in war,” Hendler explained to AM New York. “I respect that people have their Second Amendment right. But in the Constitution, it says the Second Amendment is to establish a well-regulated militia, but in this scenario, there is no militia."
At this time, the names of the other survivors who plan to speak at the rally are unclear. It's confirmed, however, that one of founders of the Wear Orange anti-gun violence campaign will also speak at the event.
The Wear Orange campaign was launched in 2016, following the fatal shooting of 15-year-old honor student Hadiya Pendleton in 2013.
One of the campaign's co-creators, Nza-Ari Khepra, said of the campaign's influence, according to Moms Demand Action: “I never dreamed something my friends and I came up with would inspire and empower so many people all over the country to get involved in the conversation about ending gun violence."
If you don't want to miss any of the speakers, make sure that you arrive at the rally before 11 a.m. Eastern Time on Saturday. It's a safe bet you won't want to miss what they have to say on the important topic of gun violence.
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