Parkland shooting survivors take part in spirited town hall at FGCU

Published: June 25, 2018 5:51 PM EDT
Updated: June 25, 2018 10:39 PM EDT

“Never again” has become a message voiced by thousands of students across the nation following a Valentine’s Day shooting that left 17 students and faculty dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Parkland shooting survivors made a stop on Monday afternoon in Naples as part of their nationwide summer bus tour called “Road to Change.”

The student activists were joined by a group of Southwest Florida students in an effort to end gun violence and get more people to the voting booths.

Previous story: Parkland survivors ‘Road to Change’ tour stops in Naples, Fort Myers

“It’s just unbelievable that 20 years ago, Columbine happened and 13 people were killed there and here we are 20 years later, and yet nothing has happened,” Gulf Coast High School student Michelle Stregawski said.

Stregawski organized a local school walkout in April in solidarity with the March For Our Lives campaign.

“We should go to school to get an education, not to wear a bullet proof vest or have teachers be armed,” she said.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students kicked off their tour earlier this month and plan to visit all 27 congressional districts in the state. Their goal is to encourage young people to vote in mid-term elections this fall.

“I’m sorry that this happened, but it seems to have happened in a time and a place and a population where it’s lit a spark and we need it … we need it,” said Susan Cone, with Moms Demand Action. 

Naples High School student Michaela O’Brien says the Parkland survivors have encouraged her to stand up for herself.

“When the pulse night club shooting happened — I identify as LGBT and that was right after I came out — So, when that happened and I saw my community attacked and killed with a gun, that inspired me at a young age to create change,” O’Brien said.

The students will have a voter registration drive from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Silverspot Cinema Terrace, Mercato on 9118 Strada Place in Naples.

Then they will host a town hall from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Florida Gulf Coast University Cohen Center on 10501 FGCU Blvd. South in Fort Myers.

The tour will also make stops in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte on Tuesday.