They became gun-control activists the day they became mass shooting survivors at Parkland High School in Florida. Now they are authors.
Delaney Tarr, Sarah Chadwick, and Jammal Lemy spoke at Senn High School to promote Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement, a book they wrote with fellow students who have emerged as activists in a movement they call “March For Our Lives.”
“What this book shows is that we are just normal, dorky teenagers, yet we were able to achieve all we did,” said Tarr, 18, currently a freshman at the University of Georgia. “It shows that anyone can be an activist. It shows the humanity of all us Parkland students.
The panel, moderated by Chicago author and self-proclaimed ‘violence interrupter’ Angelia Bianca, discussed the psychological toll of being a part of a generation that has seen so many mass shootings. The talk seemed to strike a chord with many of the more than 50 people – mostly students – in the audience.
“These people went through such a traumatic event, and it’s so inspiring that they turned that anguish into action,” said Antonio Perry, 17. “As someone whose life has been touched by gun violence, what these students did a such a young age is incredibly influential to me.”
Others talked about the importance of the upcoming midterm elections, where control of Congress will be at stake.
“These upcoming elections are so important,” said Lucy Davis, 18. “And we are lucky to have these incredible students getting out the vote.”
Lemy, March For Our Lives’ creative director, used his design skills to encourage young people to vote. He created t-shirts with an American flag, but instead of stars, they have a QR code that when scanned, takes you to a voter registration page and also shows a list of polling places near you.
The founders of March For Our Lives came out with the new book to serve as both an account of their experiences and a guide for starting an activist movement.
The book consists of essays, photos, conversations and speeches from the students detailing the weeks after the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. It is described as a “blueprint” for starting a nationwide activist movement, including using technology to gain traction on social media, effectively leveraging traditional media appearances, fundraising and lobbying to spread a message.
Authors’ proceeds from the book will will go to support the March For Our Lives Action fund, according to the group’s website.