CHICAGO (CBS) — A group of Chicago high school students has returned from Parkland, Florida, after meeting survivors of last month’s deadly school shooting.
The trip came together very fast. Activist priest Fr. Michael Pfleger and former Education Secretary Arne Duncan made it happen; two groups of young people from different backgrounds who have a common interest of addressing gun violence.
Pfleger long has been an advocate of stricter gun control laws. The marquee outside his church, St. Sabina, bears the words “ban assault weapons.” It’s a message taken from the South Side to South Florida this weekend.
“Why are our kids doing something that our leaders should be doing?” said Lamar Johnson, the youth services coordinator for BRAVE (Bold Resistance Against Violence Everywhere) at St. Sabina, made the trip to Parkland with St. Sabina Academy students.
The group of Chicago high school students met with those who survived the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The students shared ideas and life experiences poolside, but their experience wasn’t a vacation; more of a plan of action.
“We were just explaining the difference between how violence has affected them in Parkland versus everyday violence here,” Johnson said.
Emma Gonzalez hosted the teens from Chicago. The Stoneman Douglas student has become a passionate advocate for the “Never Again” movement in the days following the mass shooting at her school.
“It really gave me hope to see these kids from high schools putting their minds together regardless of what city they’re from, or experiences, to do something about this gun issue in America,” Johnson said.
On March 14, students at St. Sabina Academy planned to join high schoolers from around the country in the National School Walkout, a nationwide demonstration in support of tougher gun laws. Then, on March 24, the students will go to Washington, D.C., for the March For Our Lives rally in the nation’s capital.