Just over a month following the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Collier County students are standing in solidarity with the Parkland victims and with the March for Our Lives rallies planned for Washington, DC and across the nation. The officially sanctioned March for Our Lives Naples event will take place at Cambier Park, with marchers and participants asked to gather at 8:3 0a.m and march commencing at 9 a.m.
Speakers at the rally, starting at 9:45 immediately following the march, include Naples Mayor Bill Barnett; Mike Barnes, Former president and CEO of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; retired Stoneman Douglas principal Mike Kinghorn; Florida State Representative candidate Sara McFadden; local teacher Corrie Vega; and students from Gulfcoast, Barron Collier, and Palmetto Ridge high schools. All will give voice to the issue of gun violence in schools and the need for prompt legislative action.
In addition, seventeen students from our local community will each step forward to ring a bell on stage in honor of the fallen Marjory Stoneman Douglas students; and the bell will be rung an eighteenth time to honor all other students and teachers who have perished due to gun violence in incidents across the country.
The Collier County supervisor of elections, working alongside Collier County volunteers, will have representatives on site to register new voters. The SOE plans to install an actual voting machine under the Covered Pavilion adjacent to the band shell to carry out live demonstrations. In addition, the Pavilion will host a post-card writing session, where concerned students and citizens can send messages to their elected officials stressing the importance of implementing sensible gun legislation.
Spearheading the planning of the march and rally is the new social activism group, Collier Students for Change (CSFC), founded by local students just after the Parkland massacre. Members of Collier Students for Change include Emma Sullivan, organizer of the ‘We Call BS’ rally at the Collier County Courthouse on February 23, and Zachary Vega and Hayden Meyers, leaders of the Barron Collier walkout on February 21. The nonpartisan group hopes to lend their efforts to the national movement and assure that Collier County fully participates in working toward comprehensive gun reform. Joining Collier Students for Change, in supporting roles, are grass roots social justice group, Collier Freedom, and the Naples chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Hayden Meyers of CSFC said of his three younger sisters, “They have been doing code red drills since kindergarten and it hurts me so much that these little girls are growing up afraid to go to school.” Another student organizer, Stefica Milor, says she also marches for her younger family members, “I’m marching because the thought of them being gunned down in school terrifies me, and I want to make a change for them and for everyone else.
The Naples event is one of 816 taking place throughout the nation and on four continents this coming Saturday, but this tragedy hits especially close to home, as Parkland is just an hour and a half away, straight across Alligator Alley.
Students like Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, and Cameron Kasky are changing the conversation and holding our politicians accountable. Collier Students for Change intends to include Collier County in the nationwide debate and movement spawned by the courageous Parkland survivors.
On Friday, March 23rd, the day before the rally, from 3pm to 8pm, there will be a sign-making event where the official Naples March for our Lives t-shirts will be on sale to the public. The location is the Collier County Democratic Party offices at 600 Goodlette Road.
Tabling for non-profit organizations and candidates running for office is free of charge. Register here if you wish to participate:
Volunteers are still being sought for the event. Should you wish to volunteer, please sign up here.
WHAT: We will be marching with signs to Cambier Park where we will be listening to speakers and writing postcards to our politicians demanding that action towards stricter gun laws be taken.
WHY: We will simply not allow this to happen again. The horrific events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High this February and every other mass shooting will not be forgotten. Action must be taken.
WHEN: March 24th starting at 8:30 AM. March starts at 9:00
WHERE: March will start and end at Cambier Park a.m. Lineup will begin at 8:30 a.m, march will start at 9:00 a.m.
WHO: Everyone who believes #EnoughisEnough and this should happen#NeverAgain
WHAT TO WEAR: Orange is encouraged, or any social justice shirt that shows solidarity to the cause. Collier Students for Change (CSFC) is designing a t-shirt that will be available for sale the morning of the event. Find them on Twitter @ChangeCollier
WHAT TO BRING: Signs that express your solidarity with the cause, water, snacks, lawn chairs, picnic blankets, allies, and positive energy. We will post more information on our FAQ page soon.
OTHER INFO: Wristbands that say “#NEVERAGAIN” will be sold at Cambier Park before and after the march. Proceeds will be divided between Collier Students For Change to continue our mission, and donations to the families of the Parkland victims.