Juniors from Mountain View and Millennium high schools discuss how they became involved with organizing the March for Our Lives event and what to expect at the march on Saturday.
March for Our Lives is a national movement that was sparked by the survivors of the school shooting that took place in Parkland, Fla. over a month ago. Schools across the country have been staging walkouts and moments of silence as they try to get the attention of lawmakers for stricter gun control laws.
Participation for the movement grew quickly with help from social media. Beyoncé Brooks, a junior at Millennium High School, says a classmate DM’ed her over Twitter, asking if she wanted to join in meeting with legislators. She says it led her to meet amazing people who all wanted a common goal.
“When we want to have a call to action it’s through Twitter,” Jordan Harb, a junior at Mountain View High School, says. “I learned that young people are fed up. I learned that there are so many people who I didn’t know were interested in politics, and they have a fire. They want to talk to our legislators and really make a difference because we don’t feel safe in our schools anymore.”
Brooks has been interested in politics and gun safety laws since she saw the news about Sandy Hook on TV as a little girl. She says she always wanted to do something but never knew where to start. With the support of so many other young people, she says it’s boosted her interest to want to go out and do more.
“Of course I have some students in my class who don’t really agree with everything we’re saying,” Brooks says. “Then there are other students who are really pushing me forward. I’ve learned to just focus on that and focus on my friends and family who are supporting me. ”
Harb says he was disappointed by the reaction the students received when they went to the capitol. He says Republican lawmakers cancelled their meetings and walked out of the chamber because they weren’t taking the students seriously.
“Frankly, our voices should be heard because the policies they pass directly impact us, not them,” Harb says. “Whether or not they agree with the policy we’re advocating for, our voices need to be put on the table because what they pass at the capitol will affect us every day.”
Both juniors are unimpressed with Governor Doug Ducey’s school safety plans. They agree that it’s a start, but it’s only a band aide. Harb points out that there are clear loopholes in his current plan.
March for Our Lives can be found on Facebook and marchforourlivesaz.org. The next event takes place on Saturday, March 31 at 10 a.m. at the state capitol building.
TED SIMONS: THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE EXPECTED TO MARCH FOR GUN CONTROL AS PART OF THE MARCH FOR OUR LIVES EVENT FOLLOWING THE KILLING OF 17 PEOPLE AT A FLORIDA HIGH SCHOOL. PEOPLE HAVE DONE MUCH OF THE ORGANIZING. TWO JOIN US, JORDAN HARB AND BEYONCE BROOKS A JUNIOR AT MILLENNIAL HIGH SCHOOL IN GOODYEAR. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. MARCH FOR OUR LIVES, WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
JORDAN HARB: THIS IS A NATIONAL MOVEMENT THAT WAS INSPIRED BY YOUNG PEOPLE, BY THE YOUNG SURVIVORS OF THE PARKLAND, FLORIDA SHOOTING. IT HAS GROWN INTERNATIONALLY STARTED BY OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE ACROSS THE WORLD TO MARCH IN SOLIDARITY AND CALL FOR REFORM AT OUR STATE GOVERNMENT. GUN VIOLENCE AFFECTS EVERYONE IN EVERY WALK OF LIFE ALL OVER THE WORLD.
TED SIMONS: HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THIS?
BEYONCE BROOKS: WELL, A GIRL NAMED CATHERINE AT MY SCHOOL REACHED OUT TO THE PHOENIX MARCH FOR OUR LIVES. SHE DMED ME ON TWITTER. SHE SAID WE ARE MEETING WITH THE LEGISLATORS IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COME. I WAS LIKE, YEAH. I MET SO MANY GREAT PEOPLE. THAT'S WHERE I MET JORDAN. WE SAT IN AT THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE. IT WAS A PLEASANT EXPERIENCE.
TED SIMONS: A LOT OF SOCIAL MEDIA INVOLVED HERE CORRECT. THAT IS PRETTY MUCH HOW IT WAS ORGANIZED AS WELL.
BEYONCE BROOKS: SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED A BIG PART ON HOW EVERYTHING THAT'S HAPPENED.
TED SIMONS: THAT IS HOW YOU SEE IT AS WELL, HUH?
JORDAN HARB: YES THAT IS HOW EVERYTHING IS WITH YOUUNG PEOPLE NOW. WHEN WE WANT TO HAVE A CALL OF ACTION, IT IS THROUGH TWITTER. WHEN WE HAD THE DAY OF ACTION LAST WEEK, IT WAS THROUGH DMING PEOPLE ON TWITTER, GETTING THE WORD OUT. GETTING LITTLE GRAPHICS. AND WE HAD A HUNDRED PEOPLE I NEVER MET BEFORE SHOW UP AT THE CAPITOL BUILDING.
TED SIMONS: WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THAT EVENT? OTHER THEN TWITTER WORKS?
JORDAN HARB: I LEARNED THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE FED UP. THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE I DIDN'T KNOW WERE INTERESTED IN POLITICS, HAVE A FIRE. THEY WANT TO TALK TO OUR LEGISLATORS AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE. WE DON'T FEEL SAFE IN SCHOOLS ANYMORE.
TED SIMONS: WERE YOU INTERESTED IN POLITICS BEFORE THIS?
BEYONCE BROOKS: YES, I WAS. I HAVE BEEN INTERESTED IN THIS SINCE SANDY HOOK. ONCE I SAW THAT ON T.V. AS A LITTLE GIRL, THAT TOOK MY HEART AND I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING, BUT I NEVER KNEW WHERE TO START. HAVING OTHERS INTERESTED IN THIS AS WELL HAS BOOSTED MY INTEREST AND MADE ME WANT TO DO MORE.
TED SIMONS: YOU ARE AROUND LIKE MINDED PEOPLE, BUT FELLOW STUDENTS, KIDS YOU HANG OUT WITH, WHAT DO THEY THINK OF YOUR INVOLVEMENT?
BEYONCE BROOKS: I HAVE PEOPLE IN MY CLASS THAT DON'T AGREE WITH EVERYTHING I SAY, AND I HAVE OTHER STUDENTS PUSHING ME FORWARD. I HAVE LEARNED TO FOCUS ON THAT AND MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHO ARE SUPPORTING ME. IF WE LOOK TOWARD PEOPLE TURNING THEIR BACKS AGAINST US, IT WOULD HURT US IN A WAY.
TED SIMONS: DEFEATS THE PURPOSE THERE. WHEN YOU WENT TO THE CAPITOL, GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, WHOLE NINE YARDS, WHAT KIND OF REACTION DID YOU GET FROM LAWMAKERS?
JORDAN HARB: WE DIDN'T GET A REACTION WE WERE EXPECTING. MOST REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS CANCELED MEETINGS WHEN THEY FOUND OUT WE WANTED TO SPEAK ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE. ON THE FLOOR, WE HAD OUR OWN PERSONAL SURVIVOR STORIES, AND HOW WE FEEL IN THE CLASSROOM READ ALOUD, AND HALF OF THE CHAMBER GOT UP AND LEFT BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT IT WAS A JOKE.
TED SIMONS: I WAS GOING TO SAY, DID THEY NOT TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY, OR DID THEY NOT AGREE WITH YOUR POSITION?
THEY DID NOT TAKE US SERIOSULY. WHETHER OR NOT THEY AGREE WITH THE POLICY WE ARE ADVOCATING FOR, OUR VOICE NEEDS TO BE ON THE TABLE BECAUSE WHAT THEY PASS AT THE CAPITOL AFFECTS US EVERYDAY. OUR VOICE NEEDS TO BE PUT ON THAT TABLE BECAUSE WHAT THEY PASS AT THE CAPITOL AFFECTS US EVERYDAY.
TED SIMONS: DO YOU THINK LAWMAKERS ARE PAYING MORE ATTENTION TO YOUR VOICES?
BEYONCE BROOKS: I THINK THEY ARE. THEY ARE REALIZING A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE SPEAKING UP ARE GOING TO BE VOTERS. WE'LL BE VOTING IN THE NEW ELECTION. EVEN IF WE CAN'T VOTE THIS YEAR, WE'LL VOTE NEXT YEAR AND THE YEAR AFTER THAT. WE ARE GOING TO BE VOTING. THEY NEED TO GET OUR ATTENTION IF THEY WANT TO BE PUT IN OFFICE AGAIN, THEY NEED US ON THEIR SIDE.
TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS THE GOVERNORS IDEA REGARDING SCHOOL SAFETY, WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THEM? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THEM?
JORDAN HARB: IT'S A START, BUT IT'S NOT ENOUGH. I STATED IT WEDNESDAY. WHAT HE PROPOSED ON MONDAY WAS SIMPLY AN EFFORT TO APPEASE INDEPENDENT VOTERS TO MAKE IT SEEM LIKE HE'S TRYING WHEN WHAT HE'S PROPOSING HAS LOOPHOLES. THEY CAN JUST GO TO A GUN SHOW. $9 MILLION HAS NO IMPACT. WHAT HE IS PROPOSING IS UNDERFUNDED AND NOT AGGRESSIVE ENOUGH.WHEN REPUBLICAN STATES ACROSS THE NATION ARE PASSION REFORMS IN REPUBLICANS LEGISTLATURES.
TED SIMONS: YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT THE GOVERNOR PROPOSED?
BEYONCE BROOKS: I FEEL HE IS TRYING TO PUT A BANDAID ON IT AND SHUT US UP. MY THING IS BANDAIDS DO NOT HEAL BULLET WOUNDS. THAT IS WHAT THEY NEED TO REALIZE.
TED SIMONS: FOR EVENTS SCHEDULED ON SATURDAY? WHERE CAN FOLKS FIND OUT MORE? TWITTER IS THE ENTIRE BUZZ. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US? WHERE CAN WE FIND THE INFORMATION?
JORDAN HARB: FACEBOOK, MARCH FOR OUR LIVES PHOENIX, ARIZONA AND MARCH FOR OUR LIVES AZ.ORG. THAT HAS THE TIMES, 10:00 A.M. AT THE STATE CAPITOL BUILDING. COME EARLY AS YOU CAN. OUR SPEAKERS START AT 10:00, THE MARCH AT 11:00. WE'LL HAVE VENDORS AND FOOD TRUCKS AS WELL.
TED SIMONS: THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.
BEYONCE BROOKS: THANK YOU FOR HAVING US
Jordan Harb: Junior, Mountain View High School; Organizer, March for Our Lives
Beyoncé Brooks: Junior, Millennium High School; Organizer, March for Our Lives