ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Demanding change, inspiring voter registration and working toward a goal of common sense gun legislation were the messages from Parkland students and lawmakers during the “Road to Change” Rally stop at Williams Park on Thursday.
But how will the event make progress without strong bipartisan support?
Kayla Dixon, a student with the movement, said their top goal is communicating with lawmakers on both sides.
“We just need them to hear us and we saw today a lot of them are starting to listen," she said. "Which gives us a lot of hope. But for us to achieve a goal on a national scale and state scale we really need them to open their ears and minds to what we have to say. Our goal is common sense gun legislation, ending the apathetic generation and letting people feel save and united in a country that has seen a lot of division lately.”
In addition to Parkland students sharing their stories and inspiration messages of why they say change is necessary, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and State Rep. Chris Latvala (R-Clearwater) also spoke at the event.
“Regardless of party or platform this is about making our schools safe," Latvala said. "We have a responsibility to honor the far too many lives which have been taken too soon by inconceivable acts of violence."
Parkland student Tyah-Amoy Roberts stressed that the group is a non-partisan organization. They've encountered support and resistance from both sides of the aisle, she said.
“Our biggest challenge is working to overcome the misconceptions fueling hatred toward our organization," Roberts said. "People think we are gun grabbers and taking guns away which is the complete opposite of what we are trying to do. We definitely support responsible use of the 2nd amendment, we just know communities are suffering and people in them are dying and we want to make sure there are policies in place to stop that from happening."
The organization is also encouraging as many people to register to vote as possible. So far, they’ve gotten at least 200 people to register to vote from their multiple events across Florida. Their next event will be in Orlando on Friday, 6 p.m. at Lake Eola.
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