‘This is about hope’: Parkland students arrive in FL capital

Tanzil Philip, 16, a student survivor from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Schoo speaks to a crowd of supporters and media at Leon High School, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(RNN) – Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas arrived in Tallahassee on Tuesday night and addressed a crowd ahead of their planned rally at the Florida state capital.

The students bused from Parkland, where 17 were killed at their school last week by a 19-year-old gunman, along a roughly six-and-a-half-hour route to Tallahassee. Three buses were carrying the students, and they arrived after 9 p.m. at Leon High School in Tallahassee.

Leon students greeted their counterparts from Parkland, and the Stoneman Douglas students addressed a crowd of them, along with local and national media.

“You guys are the ones that are going to be with us, you students are so important to us. We’re fighting for you guys, we’re fighting for the friends we lost, we’re fighting for the future kids that we’re going to have,” said Sofie Whitney, a Stoneman Douglas student. “And that’s why we’re marching and that’s why we’re here talking to our senators and our representatives.”

Hundreds of people were waiting for the Stoneman Douglas students here in Tallahassee. They cheered the teenagers like celebrities. Then MSD student Alfonso Calderón took to the podium. "This isn’t like all the other shootings." pic.twitter.com/xDUfXFgEce

— julieturkewitz (@julieturkewitz) February 21, 2018

Florida’s House on Tuesday voted against formally considering a bill that would have banned many semiautomatic guns and large capacity magazines.

One student addressed that development, saying students were hoping they could speak with lawmakers and “hopefully get them to change their minds.”

Another Stoneman Douglas student, Diego Pfeiffer, outlined a vision for an array of developing movements, from the “Never Again” movement started by the Stoneman Douglas students in Tallahassee to the “March For Our Lives” rally planned for late March in Washington.

“Just a reminder for us, and for you guys – this isn’t about school shootings and this isn’t about violence anymore. This is about hope, this is about moving forward with everybody,” he said. “This is about you guys, this is about everybody here making a difference. It’s students and their lives.”

Tanzil Philip, a sophomore, said the students were overwhelmed by the positive response.

"It’s unbelievable to see the amount of people we have supporting us here," he said. "Our message is very simple, and it’s: ‘Never again.’ We cannot let anything like this happen to us ever again."

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