How Parkland Students Remembered Pulse Victims On The Shooting's 2nd Anniversary
Tuesday marked two years since a shooter attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people. On the anniversary, people of all ages attended memorials to commemorate those who died, including some Parkland kids, a few of which helped remember Pulse victims by organizing protest events.
Parkland survivors participated in or helped organize at least two "die-ins." The events were intended to remember victims of the shooting, as well as to put pressure on lawmakers to act on gun control. One die-in took place near Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump's resort in Palm Beach, Florida. The other took place at the U.S. Capitol.
The Mar-a-Lago die-in, which also has its on Twitter account, was organized by local high school students. One person who participated was a 15 year-old Parkland survivor named Caspen Becher. Becher was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School when a shooter attacked the school on Feb. 14, killing 17 students and staff.
"I am sick and tired of you not doing anything," Becher said of President Trump, according to the Sun-Sentinel. "We are done dying. We don’t want to die anymore. I am done being shot at. I am done being victimized."
About 50 students participated in the Palm Springs protest, which took place close to Mar-a-Lago. Trump has referred to the resort as the "summer White house."
Participants reclined on the ground for 12 minutes. According to The Hill, the timing represented a statistic which states that a person dies from gun violence every 12 minutes. One protestor read out the name of every single person who died at Pulse two years ago.
The Palm Beach protest was not the only student-organized event to commemorate the Pulse shooting. Another die-in took place in Washington, D.C., in front of the U.S. Capitol building. USA Today reports that it was planned in part by Parkland survivor David Hogg, who has become a vocal gun control activist in recent months.
One of the key organizers, a teenager named Amanda Fugleberg, told USA Today that she remembered waking up as a sophomore in high school and learning that the Pulse shooting had happened over the course of the night. The nightclub was located only 15 minutes away from where she lived.
"When Pulse happened, it was a huge thing, and it was horrifying," she said. "Two years later, you still feel the effects."
According to photos and reports shared on Twitter, protestors also entered at least two senatorial offices — those belonging to Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mitch McConnell, both Republicans.
A GoFundMe was set up to help support the D.C. die-in. "To this day it remains the deadliest act of violence against the LGBTQ+ community to ever take place in the US and the second deadliest mass shooting in America," the page reads, referring to the Pulse shooting. "Despite the cries heard around the nation after this horrific tragedy, lawmakers did nothing to prevent future gun violence. Since that tragic day in Orlando, elected officials have allowed approximately 700 more lives to be lost to mass shootings in the United States."
A group of Parkland survivors made waves this year when they turned to activism just days and weeks after the shooting at their school. Members of group have amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter, have appeared on major news networks, and have even been the subject of conspiracy theories. But they are not the only young people to take a stand for gun control.
As evidenced by Tusday's die-ins, the Parkland activists appear to have inspired teens from all over the country to step up and demand that lawmakers take action. If Tuesday's events are any indication, they don't appear to be losing momentum.