March for Our Lives: How Survivors Turned Trauma Into Action to End School Shootings
High school students in the United States have seen far too many of their peers affected by deadly shootings.
But, after the Parkland, Florida, attack in 2018, these students finally decided that it was time to take matters into their own hands.
David and Lauren Hogg were two such high schoolers who found themselves at the forefront of this powerful movement.
Through their experiences — including first-hand exposures to gun violence and debating gun-control issues in high school — they were motivated to fight for the protection of their peers.
This experience taught David that media had a great influence on society and could help understand how to make a difference.
It also inspired high schoolers across the country to stand up against the NRA and create a list of ten demands that they still want addressed.
Clearly, these incredible students have shown us what happens when young people take action and use their voices—they can make even a global difference.
After Parkland School Shooting, Students Decided It Was Time for Change
The Parkland, Florida, school shooting was a tipping point that drove students to take matters into their own hands.
On February 14, 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had yet another fire drill like they were told to expect.
They were completely unprepared for what came next – when a former student opened fire on campus, killing 17 students and faculty members.
14-year-old Lauren Hogg and her classmates hid in the back room for 3 hours before being rescued by the police.
It all seemed surreal; here they were trying to deal with the magnitude of what had happened at their school and yet figuring out how to make sense of it all.
It was in this place of shock and trauma that David Hogg, Lauren’s 17 year old brother spoke up on behalf of his peers: “Something needs to be done to protect our schoolchildren.”
It wasn’t just words either – these students took action following the tragedy., forming organizations like #NeverAgain which call for an end to mass shootings in America.
Indeed, these kids have grown up with mass shooting drills as part of their curriculum and want a world where those drills are no longer necessary.
Living Through Trauma Inspires Student Activists To Take Action Against School Shootings
Growing up in California, the Hoggs brothers were exposed to many different things.
From an entrepreneurial spirit to firearms and shooting incidents.
Lauren and David discovered their own savvy when it came to earning pocket money through creative means, such as reselling store-bought cookies at a profit.
This formed a bond between the two that taught them how to take matters into their own hands.
Their father is an ex-FBI agent who used to carry a gun, and he instilled in the boys the importance of taking responsible care and understanding the tool properly.
David was even able to witness firsthand when an LAX terminal shooting happened with the officer being a family friend.
The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting also left its mark on Lauren and David while they were living in California.
Their parents’ shock over the news further made David realize just how abnormal code red drills at school actually were.
Learning About Firearms, Compassion and the Media: How David and Lauren Hogg Found Their Political Pathways in High School
When the Hogg family moved to Parkland, Florida, they settled into a completely different environment.
David and Lauren both started school at their new high school where the curriculum included diverse topics such as politics, media, and gun control laws.
From watching Hank Green’s show to researching women’s rights and familiarizing themselves with the 2016 election, the Hoggs began to engage in critical discussions about society that were taking place within and outside of their community.
To further explore these social issues, Lauren engaged in debates about gun control and mental health while David embarked on an exploration of politics and firearms through his advanced-placement government class.
He was able to recognize how both sides of the argument often have contradictions in them; for instance, some conservatives claim that they want to keep firearms and uphold the Second Amendment to defend themselves from a government trying to take their guns.
But this went against what it originally meant; namely that responsible citizens should support a government who had no army of its own at the time.
David was also lucky enough to make friends with fellow student Emma Gonzalez who taught him more about compassion instead of just staying focused on facts– a lesson he will never forget even after all these years.
With her knowledge of mass media, as well as support from like-minded people around him, David was able to come into full awareness of the many implications surrounding gun control laws– something which would eventually lead him onto bigger things in life.
Turning Grief Into Positive Action: Lauren Hogg and the Fight for Gun Reform
The Valentine’s Day tragedy in Parkland, Florida was a heartbreaking event, and no one felt it more deeply than Lauren Hogg.
Four of her dear friends were among those who perished in the shooting- Gina Montalto, Jamie Guttenberg, Alaina Petty, and Alyssa Alhadeff.
Each of these four victims had dreams and potential that were taken away from them before it could even be realized.
Lauren went to bed that night distraught over the losses of two friends she thought she had lost, only to find out the next day that four were gone.
In light of this loss, Lauren took to Twitter to express her deep grief and call for action.
She wanted people to understand how much each of these students meant to her and how much they had been taken away due to this senseless act of violence.
Lauren faced online abuse as conspiracy theories regarding David circulated on social media platforms with many spearheaded by Donald Trump Jr.’s ‘likes.’ In response, Lauren sent a tweet directly to Melania Trump calling out the false claims being spread against her family as well as all other families affected by this horrible attack.
This tweet made an impact, as it received thousands of likes across all social media sites- many from both sides discussing why change is needed now more than ever before.
It Takes a Shooting to Mobilize a Generation: How David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez Helped Launch #NeverAgain
When the news of a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shook his community, David Hogg had an instinctive response by taking out his phone to film what was happening.
This led him to document his own disbelief and anguish as well as that of other students who found refuge with him in a classroom.
The experience lighted a spark in David, inspiring him to join a group of friends who decided to take action against this madness.
Two days after the tragedy, he was invited to be part of the small group led by Emma Gonzalez.
They discussed how they could make sure nothing like this ever happened again and christened their movement #NeverAgain.
Taking the call for action straight over social media enabled them to challenge powerful entities such as the National Rifle Association (NRA).
People followed David’s lead standing up against companies providing discounts to NRA members and also calling out personalities whose public statements were insensitive or dismissive towards survivors’ experiences.
Eventually, Fox TV host Laura Ingraham apologized after seeing advertisers step away from her show due to pressure from these tweets – a first victory for the young campaigners!
The Parkland Students Brought Hope and Action in the Wake of Tragedy
The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas realized they couldn’t wait to make a difference in the world, so they took action soon after the tragic attack.
Through thousands of donations and financial support from celebrities like Steven Spielberg and George Clooney, they have achieved incredible results – receiving over $4 million on their GoFundMe page and organizing 800 marches spanning across the United States (as well as around the world).
Now, the NRA is at its lowest level of popularity in 20 years and there’s now a two-thirds majority supporting the banning of assault weapons.
However, that’s not enough for March For Our Lives and they are determined to take further action.
In order to that, they have crafted a ten-point strategy which will help save even more lives by preventing guns from getting into the wrong hands.
Some components of this plan include conducting background checks on every firearm purchaser, increasing funding for research into gun violence prevention and establishing “red flag laws” for individuals termed as at-risk.
Furthermore, registering to vote continues to be an important part in ensuring these changes are made.
With such an ambitious yet valuable plan at hand, March For Our Lives is committed towards making sure it gets implemented properly.
By coming together with hope in spite of tragedy, they have managed to start this journey towards healing our world – but they are still far from reaching their destination point.
The #NeverAgain movement is a powerful example of what can be accomplished when students take a stand.
Sparked by the tragic shooting at Parkland, Florida, these students used their education to understand the effects of firearms and the media and political power they could command if they stood together.
This knowledge allowed them to form an agenda and fight for it with courage and determination.
The result has been some of the largest changes in gun control policy in decades, showing that anyone can make a real difference if they have the will do it.