LITTLETON, Colo. — Dozens of shooting survivors are coming together Thursday to take part in a "Vote for Our Lives" rally. The rally was organized by students from high schools in Jefferson County on the eve of the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting.
About 60 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and four others from inner-city Pittsburgh are coming to Littleton for the event. They will be staying with the families of students from JeffCo.
Before the Thursday rally, the students met with survivors from the Columbine school shooting to talk about how they healed in the weeks, months and years after 12 students and one teacher were killed by two gunmen.
“It will be a really amazing opportunity to bring our communities together and we’re really hoping to bring survivors together and empower them in their healing process,” said Emmy Adams, a Golden High School senior who is an organizer of the event. “Although they will never be normal again, they will get better and the healing will happen.”
The goal is to create a network of survivors for the Parkland students to lean on.
Thursday’s event will happen at 6 p.m. at Clement Park. It will feature speakers from Parkland, Florida, Columbine, the Aurora theater shooting and the Arapahoe shooting among others. There will also be musical performances by students and Isaac Slade, the lead singer of The Fray.
Voter registration booths will also be set up throughout the park to sign people up to vote.
“The whole idea of it is that it is going to be a series of rallies leading up to the midterms in November to keep the conversation going because our leaders and the people who are against us are relying on this energy to die out and we are not going to let it die out,” Adams said.
The students are planning on holding rallies every few weeks in about 30 cities in all. The students say school shootings have become a common occurrence and a fact of life for schools across the country.
“Sadly, my generation is the generation of mass shootings. I’ve grown up my entire life hearing about these horrible tragedies. So many of them have happened in my community, in the Columbine community, in our state in general with Aurora and in Arapahoe. I’ve been doing those active shooter drills since as long as I can remember,” Adams said.
On Friday, dozens of students are also planning a walkout at Jefferson County schools on the anniversary of the Columbine shooting.