How you can help the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting Survivors

By now, we’ve all probably heard about the shooting that took place on February 14th, 2018. If you haven’t, the story is chillingly similar to other school shootings. An expelled student, now identified as Nikolas Cruz (19), opened fire on his classmates and professors on the afternoon of February 14th. He pulled the fire alarm to get everyone outside and started shooting when they exited. He used an AR-15,a semi automatic rifle, to kill 17 students and teachers and wound many more.

As with any school shooting, the debate of gun control in the United States came up. Some claimed it was “too soon” to talk about, that we should not politicize the deaths of our youth and that guns were not the problem. Regardless of where you stand on the debate, we do need to talk about it.

You may be wondering why someone in Minnesota should care about what happens in Florida. We are on different extremities of the map, aren’t we? The problem is that it isn’t just happening in Florida. It has happened in Virginia, Connecticut, Colorado, Oregon, California, Nevada and pretty much all over the United States. The biggest problem is that after one or two weeks, we stop talking about it, until the next shooting happens. So, how can we help the Parkland High School shooting survivors and help avoid future shootings?

 

First of all, you can donate. We always hear about the survivors, how they are struggling to cope with the trauma, and how they miss their loved ones. But these are the ones that can get in front of a camera and broadcast on the news about how they are feeling. Some survivors are still undergoing surgeries, or trying to pay off medical bills. Some families have to pay for the funeral of their loved ones and want to set up a memorial for them. Other agencies are donating their services to help the survivors, like service dogs to welcome the kids as they return to school. Here is a list of legitimate organizations and GoFundMe’s that you can donate to:

  1. Stoneman Douglas Victim Fund

  2. LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs (for Travel Expenses)

  3. Anthony Borges (survivor)

  4. In Memory of Jaime Guttenberg

  5. For the Hixon Family

  6. Nicholas Paul Dworet (scholarship fund in his honor)

  7. March for Our Lives (for the survivor’s march in Washington travel expenses)

Another possibility is to talk to your representatives and senators. They have the power to draft bills and get them passed. Just recently, two gun regulating bills were stopped in the House of Representatives,but many are being reviewed. If we rally for these bills, we can get the representatives and senators to know we care. Most representatives are willing to meet in person, but you can also call or email them to raise awareness. You can find contact information for senators here and information for representatives here.

 

The other thing you can do is keep others informed. Share any stories or articles you may see on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, so that they know that the conversation is still going. Talk to friends, teachers, parents and any peers about the efforts you are doing and that they can do. Participate in the school walkouts that are going on. The first one was during our spring break, on March 14, but there will be another on April 20th in memory of the Columbine High School shooting. Find more information about local participating schools here.

Have the debate, even if it’s with someone who thinks differently. Listen and be respectful because there is always the chance you change their mind. If not, at least the conversation is still going and it’s still on people’s minds. People forget the problems because the media stops covering them, they just become old news. If we keep the conversation going, the media will keep covering what we want to here. The most important thing we can do is keep the light on the horrible events, so we can learn and grow from them, and make sure it happens #neveragain.