In a moving show of solidarity, on Thursday 60 students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, traveled to the Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, on the eve of the 19th anniversary of the school shooting to hold a Vote For Our Lives rally. There, at a park near the school, the Parkland students joined together with with survivors, families of the victims, current students, and Littleton community members.
Prior to their own tragedy, many Parkland students had never even heard of Columbine, where 13 lives were lost and over 20 injured on April 20 when two senior students carried out an attack on the school. Kayla Schaefer, a 17-year-old junior, is one of those students who traveled halfway across the country for the event.
“I feel like we’re both kind of going through the same thing,” Schaefer told CNN. “They went through it a long time ago, but we’re going through it now so they understand what we are going through.”
Parkland student Carlos Rodriguez, pictured above, spoke on behalf of Parkland students at the rally.
“Two months ago, Douglas faced what Columbine faced 19 years ago. I have had two months to understand what it’s like to feel alone, what it’s like to feel despair, what it’s like to feel pain. We have been eternally scarred, and now we share a common voice,” he said. “This nation should have realized that the right to live, the right to feel safe is more important than the right to bare arms 19 years ago.”
The rallying cry of the rally was clear, and November is undoubtedly going to see young people coming out to vote like never before. At the conclusion of the event, former Columbine Principal Frank DeAngelis read out the names of the 13 victims at his school. “Go out and change the world,” he told the students.