New York, NY – On February 14, 2018, seventeen people were killed by gun violence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In the wake of the tragedy, many student survivors have organized, led protests, rallies and demonstrations, and have called for action. In partnership with countless survivors, advocates and allies, students at Marjory Stoneman have said “never again” and demanded legislative action that would prevent similar tragedies from happening again. The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council is proud to stand in solidarity with these students, and so many others, by participating in the March for Our Lives march on Saturday, March 24. We recognize that gun violence disproportionately impacts students of color, and so we march for student safety not only inside of classrooms, but within our greater communities. Young people have led countless movements for change here in New York City and across the country, and as progressive elected officials, we pledge our commitment to uplifting the voices of student advocates and fighting for their safety.
“I am inspired to witness the determination and courage displayed by our youth as they take a stand against the NRA and their affiliates,” said Council Member Diana Ayala, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “Gun violence has plagued our communities for decades and we must continue to support all efforts to eradicate it. As elected officials, it is our duty to amplify the voices of these young, valiant activists in their journey to catalyze comprehensive gun reform.”
“A week ago, I joined middle school students from my district in a massive march where they remembered the Parkland shooting victims and demanded improvements in school safety policies and tougher gun control laws,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Vice-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “An inspiring demonstration that showed our community that our kids are ready to lead this fight. I’m happy to join our City’s youth once again this Saturday to ensure our voices are heard in Washington. Parkland survivors initiated a movement that will not be stopped until meaningful legislation is passed in Washington to protect our children.”
“Students are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to school safety. I was proud to join students from Hunter College High School, located in my district, for the national school walkouts. Now the movement continues with a march. As a result of the tragic event at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, students across the nation are joining their peers to stand against gun violence and call for control. I am inspired to have some of my youngest constituents participate in this national movement. I encourage them to stay engaged, and pledge to support common-sense legislation in New York City,” said Council Member Keith Powers, Vice-Chair of the Progressive Caucus.
“It is truly inspiring to see this generation rising up in protest, taking action on this issue that affects them directly. When they speak, our leaders must listen,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams, member of the Progressive Caucus. “All across the country, these students are saying with one loud, clear voice that enough is enough. Elected officials have a moral responsibility to respond by standing up to the NRA and others who oppose progress in the areas of gun safety, just as these bold students have. From the mass shootings that shake our nation to the tragic, daily gun violence that plagues our streets from Florida to Brooklyn, we must all stand together to affect change. I thank this new generation of leaders for pushing the conversation forward and demanding action.”
“So many social movements have been driven by our youth, and I am deeply inspired to see so many young people speaking out against our absurdly lax gun laws. I will be following their lead in fighting against the scourge of gun violence in our society. The federal government has abdicated its responsibility on this issue, so it will fall to grassroots organizing and local elected officials to deliver the change these young people are crying out for,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, member of the Progressive Caucus.
“These bold, determined, young scholars are the inspiration for this watershed moment in our ongoing fight to enact gun-control legislation,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, member of the Progressive Caucus. “They will succeed where government has thus far failed to curb mass shootings and other acts of gun violence, as well as hold accountable those who have enabled and profited from the sale of lethal firearms at the expense of countless lives. We pledge to go the last mile of the way with them until senseless killings like the kind witnessed last month in Parkland – and routinely in communities of color on the streets of Chicago – become a thing of the past.”
“Students today understand that their government has failed them when it comes to keeping them safe from gun violence and they are taking matters into their own hands,” said Council Member Justin Brannan, member of the Progressive Caucus. “The youth speaking out and walking out don’t just deserve our respect and admiration but they deserve our undivided attention. They get it. But the time for listening has passed. It’s time for ACTION.”
“We must listen to the next generation of leaders and activists who have lived through so many unnecessary tragedies and yet still continue to fight for real and expansive gun control laws. I am proud to be marching this weekend for all the New Yorkers and Americans who have been harmed by our inadequate and senseless gun laws,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, member of the Progressive Caucus.
“I am proud to stand with every student advocate who are demonstrating this week across the country, calling for immediate action to reduce gun violence. Their leadership and activism is inspiring and we, as elected officials, must do our part to support their efforts to affect change,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, member of the Progressive Caucus.
“Across the country, including right here at home, young people are rising up for gun reform and school safety, and I am proud to stand in solidarity with these fearless leaders,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin, member of the Progressive Caucus. “While officials in Washington shamelessly reject anything close to gun control, these brave students are stepping up in the fight to protect us all from gun violence. To every student who has told their story, demanded action and made their voice heard, the world is listening and your power is growing.”
“The shooting in Parkland has activated young people to advocate for their safety and for gun control,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, member of the Progressive Caucus. “It’s really inspiring to see students across the city and across the nation organizing, getting involved and demanding more from their government. I am proud to stand with this new generation of activists and feel that it is our job as elected officials to shine a light on their efforts and fight for their continued success. They have worked hard to keep this issue in the headlines and in doing so have reshaped the national conversation about gun violence. They make me hopeful for the future and they will change the world.”
“While leaders in Washington have failed to act to prevent gun violence, students have created a movement across this nation that cannot be ignored. I commend all of the young people who have stood up to say “never again,” and all those going to Washington and their hometowns this weekend to March for our Lives. We have a tradition in this nation of positive change through peaceful protest, and today, these students join that long and proud tradition,” said Council Member Debi Rose, member of the Progressive Caucus.