- Survivors of the Parkland school shooting have spent the last year organising a national campaign against gun violence.
- But on the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, they are remembering their former classmates in other ways.
- Students are going offline, dyeing their hair, and cleaning beaches in memory of their friends.
- But they say their lives will never be the same again, and vowed to continue campaigning for gun safety legislation.
Survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are finding personal ways to honour their former classmates on the one-year anniversary of the US’ deadliest high school shooting, which saw 14 students and three teachers killed.
Many Stoneman Douglas students and parents have spent the last year fighting for gun control, lobbying politicians and organising national marches against gun violence.
Emma Gonzalez, now a graduate, has become one of the most vocal prominent anti-gun violence voices since the shooting. On Wednesday, she said that she and her college roommate had died their hair teal in honour of their former classmate Carmen Schentrup.
In the image Gonzalez retweeted, Schentrup can be seen with teal streaks in her hair.
My roommate and I just dyed our hair Teal for Carmen ???? https://t.co/iRJopAD355
— Emma González (@Emma4Change) February 13, 2019
The Guardian reported that many people chose to spend the day cleaning the favourite beach of 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff.
Alexis Grogan, a junior, said she will spend Thursday picking up trash on the beach in honour of those who died.
“I survived something and I don’t want to waste what I call a second chance at life because those who have passed don’t get that,” she told the Associated Press. “We have to make a difference for them.”
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is open for a half day on Thursday, where students will take part in community service activities.
Students are allowed to miss school on Thursday and Friday, and are encouraged to do community service activities off campus according to an email Principal Ty Thompson sent to families on Wednesday cited by South Florida outlet WLRN.
Some of the most vocal survivors have chosen to go offline for the surrounding days. The official Twitter account for March for Our Lives, the gun violence prevention movement founded by Parkland survivors, tweeted on Tuesday that it would be “going dark” from February 14 to February 17.
Thank you for joining this fight alongside us this past year. Together, we will make sure no other community or family goes through what we went through last February.
— March For Our Lives (@AMarch4OurLives) February 13, 2019
The group’s website now redirects to an anniversary page with the date of the shooting. “Today and every day, we honour those taken from us.”
David Hogg, now a Marjory Stoneman Douglas graduate and one of the most prominent figures in the March for Our Lives movement, also announced that he was taking a break from Twitter.
“Thank you for all the kind words and support in this difficult time for many families in Parkland. I will be taking a break from Twitter for the next 3 days,” Hogg tweeted.
“Please remember the people we’re stolen from us that day; they are why we fight for peace.”
Thank you for all the kind words and support in this difficult time for many famlies in Parkland.
I will be taking a break from Twitter for the next 3 days.
Please remember the people we're stolen from us that day; they are why we fight for peace.
— David Hogg Vote ???? (@davidhogg111) February 13, 2019
Jaclyn Corin, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and a cofounder of March For Our Lives, told NPR that she felt going offline was the best way to reflect on the previous year.
“I think it’s the proper thing to go dark – actually spend that day to ourselves in our own thoughts,” Corin said.
Others will spend the anniversary continuing their campaign for new gun violence legislation. Manuel Oliver, whose 17-year-old son Joaquin was killed, will spend the day in New York campaigning for gun control legislation, he told The Guardian.
“Forget about 14 February, it’s not any more in our calendar. That significance of friendship and love is gone,” he said.
Students say the fight continues after the anniversary
But Parkland survivors say they will not be able to gain closure.
“The entire aspect of grieving and getting over something like this is bulls–t,” Hogg told NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Wednesday. “You don’t get over something like this. You never can. You can’t get over something that never should have happened.”
Students who were freshmen during the shooting – who were in the first classroom that the shooter entered, where three students were killed – told The New York Times’ “The Daily” podcast that things “never feel normal.”
“We have a new normal,” one of the students said.
But they made it clear that they will continue their campaign.
Alex Wind, another March For Our Lives co-founder, told NPR that he wanted to make further gains in the gun violence prevention movement.
“I think what’s really important is that we keep this momentum going throughout this year and next year and throughout every year to come.”
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