2018-03-28 / Features

Queens Students... ‘March For Our Lives’ In Washington, DC

Global Kids students from Astoria schools Q300 and William Cullen Bryant High School participated in the March For Our Lives in Washington, DC on March 24. Global Kids students from Astoria schools Q300 and William Cullen Bryant High School participated in the March For Our Lives in Washington, DC on March 24. In response to the mass shooting at a Florida high school last month by a 19-year-old with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle, students all over the country, inspired by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas who survived the shooting and have been speaking out and organizing protests, held massive demonstrations in the “March For Our Lives.” Over 100 Global Kids Youth Leaders – including 18 high school students from William Cullen Bryant High School and five middle schoolers from Q300, “The 30th Avenue School” in Astoria, traveled to Washington, DC this past weekend to raise their voices on the issue of gun violence at the March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 24.

“There are multiple perspectives and policies related to gun control,” said Melkisedec Francois, an 11th grader at William Cullen Bryant High School. “But youth in our schools are being killed due to gun violence...what happened in Parkland could have happened to any of us.”

Photo: Astoria school Q300 6th grader Morgan Jones was interviewed during the March For Our Lives in Washington, DC on March 24. Photo: Astoria school Q300 6th grader Morgan Jones was interviewed during the March For Our Lives in Washington, DC on March 24. “Finally the victims are saying ‘no,’ this is not how we are supposed to live,” said Bryant HS senior Brandi Alduk.

The youth from Global Kids, who attend schools in all five boroughs, participated in workshops and discussions on gun violence throughout the school year. Global Kids works with youth to develop their leadership, activism and global awareness so that they can take action on critical issues that they identify. Students also receive support to help them grad- uate from high school, go on to college, and be prepared for the workplace.

For many of the participants, the march was an experience they will never forget. “It felt good to be marching on the streets and have everyone cheering for you!” said Morgan Jones, a 6th grader at Q300. “I learned how passionate people are about the issue of gun violence.”

“Unfortunately, the issue of gun violence is one that Global Kids has been working on since its inception in 1989,” said Evie Hantzopoulos, Global Kids Executive Director. “So many of our students know this issue all too well and it goes beyond school shootings. The incredible mobilization of young people across the country gives me hope that there will be real change.”

The buses left at 6:30 am, and students returned home at 8:30 pm the same evening. “The trip was fun and it was worth it,” said Nepheli Motamed, a 7th grader at Q300. “I learned how to be more of an activist if I want to change anything in the world.”

Schumer Demands McConnell Put Anti- Gun Violence Bills On Senate Floor

Standing with young people a day after joining them in the “March for Our Lives” march on his bike, US Senator Charles Schumer made a public challenge for US Senate Majority Leader McConnell: bring bills to prevent gun violence to the floor of the US Senate and allow debate. Schumer demanded this get done with young student leaders standing by his side on Sunday, and announced how the Senate should and could begin debate on three priorities that can save lives: background checks, protection orders and assault weapons.

“This weekend, I marched alongside amazing kids and worried families who are doing things Congress and NRA loyalists have long refused: forcing action on gun violence,” said Senator Schumer. “Today, on the heels of this electric and inspiring movement, I make a new demand to the Majority Leader of the Senate, my friend, Mitch McConnell, and that is to bring bills that will prevent gun violence to the floor of the Senate, allow debate, and make clear that you hear the millions of young people and others who are demanding their government work on their behalf, not on the behalf of the NRA… We may have marched yesterday but that was only the first step. We must now follow this up with action. Congress must act, and I will work night and day to make that happen.”

Schumer’s first priority is to pass tough legislation that closes existing loopholes in the background check system, like the gun show loophole and internet sales loophole. As the New York City Police Department can attest: most of New York City’s crime guns originate from states where individuals can evade a gun background check and purchase weapons with cash and no questions asked.

Schumer’s second priority is to pass legislation that allows for protective orders to temporarily disarm individuals who have shown credible signs of being a harm to themselves or to others.

Schumer’s third priority demands formal debate on assault weapons on the floor of the Senate.

Schumer authored the 1993 Brady Bill, which amended the Gun Control Act of 1968 to require background checks before a licensed gun dealer makes a sale. After the tragedy at Virginia Tech, Schumer worked with his colleagues in Congress to pass the National Incident Criminal Background Check System Improvement Act, which improved the system through which states provided the names of people who were adjudicated mentally ill or who had committed violent crimes.

Under current law, guns can be sold over the internet and at gun shows without any background checks at all.

Schumer co-wrote the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which included the original assault weapons ban. The ban expired in 2004.

Cuomo: NRA Is Not Going To Win The Day

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo marched in the March for Our Lives in New York City. He said, “We’re not taking it anymore and the NRA is not going to win the day. The people of the United States are going to win the day and common sense is going to win the day. And there’s a spirit of youth, an activism from the youth and… political change normally comes from the young people. What this generation is saying is we saw Florida, we understand the facts, and it makes no sense. It makes no sense to defy the reality that we all understand. And they’re angry at Washington and they’re angry at the lack of leadership, and they should be. And they’re saying if you won’t lead we will lead.”

NYC Council Progressive Caucus Stands With Students Demanding Action On Gun Violence

The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council said in a statement they are “…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.”

“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.”

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