Former students of the Parkland, Fla., school where a deranged gunman slaughtered 17 people gathered in Manhattan Monday night to honor the dead and support the current students demand for gun control.
“It seems nowhere is safe,” said Lauren McLain, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduate from the class of ’98. “It’s shocking. We walked those halls.”
About 150 alumni of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were brought together at the Marmara Park Avenue Hotel by Moms Demand Action, an advocacy group formed after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012.
They came together to support the surviving students’ call for gun control.
“We are so impressed by the kids at our school,” said Molly Bailin, 42, class of ’93. “We want to support them and amplify their movements. We want to do anything to effect change.”
The event began with a moment of silence to remember the children and staff who died in the massacre. The attendees then sang the school song, “Fly Eagle, Fly.”
“I want future generations to be safe,” Bailin said.
Moms Demand Action organizer Kristen Pettit said she formed the anti-gun group to push for change after the Sandy Hook shooting, but she was dispirited by the continued gun violence. She placed the blame squarely with the National Rifle Association.
“The more I dig, the more I realize the horrible influence of the NRA,” she said. “Years later, nothing has changed.”
Stoneman Douglas teacher Jason Friedlander, who lost three students in the tragedy, said in a video posted to the website “Now This” that change is possible.
“We have the evidence of history to show that we can do something,” he said.
Speaking on “Now This” on Monday, Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III said: “I’m sick and tired of giving the NRA the power over the people . . . this is in our hands.”