By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – At 11 a.m. On Saturday, March 24, at 11 a.m. students from across Oklahoma and their supporters will gather for the March for Our Lives Oklahoma City event. The march will begin at the Oklahoma County Election Board 4201 N. Lincoln Boulevard and proceed south to the State Capitol Building.
The march is in response to the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. The alleged shooter, Nikolas Cruz, 19, was armed with an AR-15 rifle. Parkland is the latest site among a rash of tragic mass shootings in the United States in recent years.
During the event student demonstrators and their supporters will demand that their lives and safety become a priority and an end to the epidemic of mass school shootings.
After two students from Sallisaw High School, Jamie Pool and James Limbaugh, found no events near their homes, they began organizing the March Oklahoma City event with the help of Mom’s Demand Action, a national group against gun violence. Both students are members of the Sallisaw Honor Team.
“We’re hoping to get at least a thousand participants for the march,” Pool told Lynn McCulley of the Sequoyah County Times. “We have a few students from Sequoyah County including some from Muldrow and Central who want to march, but by bringing awareness, we hope to pick up more students from all over.”
Moms Demand Action was founded in 2012 by Shannon Watts, in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that resulted in 28 deaths. The organization is a leading advocate for gun violence prevention, with chapters in all 50 states.
Limbaugh added, “We need change in mental health, gun safety, and school safety reform.”
After the march, a rally will take place on the north side of the Capitol Building. According to Pool, there will be approximately ten speakers along with ASL interpreters. Organizational tables are available for $30 There will be t-shirt sales and refreshments offered Chairs will be available for those who cannot stand during the event. Participants are encouraged to bring signs.
“We are done waiting for change- we are making it happen,” Oklahoma student organizers said on Facebook. “We are demanding that our lawmakers pass legislation that will keep our schools safe. Our march is organized by and led by students from across the state and their allies, and we are supported by Oklahoma Women’s March, March on Oklahoma, and several other groups.”
The March for Our Lives Tulsa, organized by Booker T. Washington High School senior Carissa Lovell, will take place at Guthrie Green, 111 E. Brady Street, at noon. Event speakers will include Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist. The march to demand gun reform will pass through downtown Tulsa. Organizations such as Moms Demand Action and Tulsa League of Women Voters will be present to educate and register new voters.
The Oklahoma City and Tulsa events will join with other marches in cities across the nation including New York City, Los Angeles, and Boston on March 24 that will be held in solidarity with the national event in Washington D.C. where many students from Parkland High School will be demonstrating.
The Washington D.C. march will take place at 10 a.m. on Pennsylvania Avenue, between 3rd and 12th Streets. Information or to register with March for Our Lives can be located online.
The mission statement for the March for Our Lives movement reads in part: “On March 24, the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington, DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority. The collective voices of the March For Our Lives movement will be heard.”
Visit the March for Our Lives OKC Facebook page for more information.