Local highschoolers to showcase activism at ‘March for Our Lives’

Riley Guerzini, News Editor

Source: Flickr
‘March for Our Lives’ Evansville will take place at 1 p.m. March 24 and will start at First Presbyterian Church in downtown. The march is being organized by local high school students and some parents.

Avery Appel doesn’t want to be afraid to go to school anymore.

The Reitz High School junior is on the planning committee for the Evansville ‘March for Our Lives’ event on March 24.

The march will begin at 1 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Downtown Evansville. Participants will walk down to the Four Freedoms monument and then walk back to the church.

Appel said they will have nine speakers when they get to the Four Freedoms monument and the planning committee is working on a few other events but they have not yet worked out the details.

631 people have expressed interest on the Facebook page for the march but she says that she expects more to show.

11 students are on the planning committee from Castle, Reitz, North, and Henderson County High School along with a few from Signature School. Appel said 4 parents who are also involved.

She said there were two instances of people pushing back against the march over social media but most have been supportive of their activism, especially her mom who is also on the planning committee.

“She didn’t pressure me into this, she just said ‘I know you don’t know much about and you can do your own research but if you want to get involved, I would love to help you out,’” Appel said.

Appel said they have not made plans for what to do after the march but she said they plan to do something.

“I am really hoping that this will show them that with the amount of students involved, this isn’t something that they can just blow of because we are going to keep pushing and moving forward to make a difference,” she said. “I hope that the government sees that things are changing and the students in America want to be heard and I think we are getting somewhere with that.”

Appel said the march is nonpartisan and she wants to encourage anyone to come and show their support.

Castle High School junior Epiphany Larmey said she participated in the national walkout March 14 and was amazed by how many students were involved.

“It was one of the most powerful things I have ever been a part of,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if everyone was going to be quiet and respectful but it ended up being really impactful.”

Larmey, who organized the walkout along with some of her friends, said around 250 students participated. Initially, the Castle High School administration had told students they would receive 5 demerits for walking out of school, but after talking with Larmey and other students, they could walk out with a note from a parent.

She said she had become more interested in gun control after the Las Vegas shooting in which 58 concertgoers died from gunshot wounds Oct. 1. She said she did not become active in gun law reform until 17 students were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida Feb. 14.

“This is our time to do something and stand-up for what we believe in and have our voices heard,” she said.

Larmey said she is not advocating for a gun ban but rather wants to have stricter background checks.

“I believe that is attainable,” she said. “There has to be something done. We can’t have these instances continue to happen. This can’t be normal.”

Larmey said she and some of her classmates have been emailing state legislators to try to convince them to change some of Indiana’s gun control laws and is even inviting them to come to her school for a question and answer session with students.

“We want to keep moving forward,” she said. “We have put a lot of time into this and we want to continue to push for stronger background checks even after the march. This is just the beginning.”

Larmey said she has received support from teachers, her parents and other students throughout the last month and she has even started a student organization advocating for stricter gun laws.

“I’m hoping people will see that it’s a moral issue and not a political issue,” she said. “I hope this march will unite both parties to increase the safety of our schools instead of divide them.”