Remembering Parkland One Year Later

For many, Valentine’s Day is a day celebrating romance and love - but for the people of Parkland, Florida, today is but a solemn reminder of the tragedy that struck Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School one year ago.

On February 14, 2018, a lone gunman (who’s name we will not be using out of respect for the victims) entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas and killed 17 students and facility members. The shooting was one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history and has since sparked a nation-wide conversation and debate about gun control and gun safety.

The students and families of Parkland have refused to be silent in the aftermath of the shooting, despite the onslaught of criticism they receive from those who don’t believe gun law reform is necessary. Many Parkland survivors and families have started anti-gun violence organizations, demonstrations and foundations, like March For Our Lives, Never Again MSD and Change the Ref. Activists have rallied all over the country for stronger gun laws in hopes to prevent another tragedy like that in Parkland. Many of the MSD students as well as students and survivors of gun violence all over the country have become big-time activists, using social media to empower their mission for gun reform in the United States. And in this digital age, their voices are being heard loud and clear.

Just last week, the first Congressional hearing on gun violence was held since 2011 and many MSD survivors, family members and parents were there, including Fred Guttenberg and Manuel Oliver, who lost their children in the 2018 massacre. Guttenberg and Oliver were almost kicked out of the hearing after they called out Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida for claiming that the actual danger that needs to be addressed in America is illegal immigration.  The pair of fathers have found an unlikely friendship in the aftermath of Parkland, and both have started organizations against gun violence in memory of their children. Guttenberg started Orange Ribbons For Jaime, a foundation that supports programs that push for gun reform and ones that were important to Guttenberg’s daughter, Jaime Guttenberg, who was 14 at the time of the shooting. Oliver and his wife, Patricia Oliver, formed Change the Ref, an organization who’s mission is to give “the kids of today the tools they need to be empowered to make changes to critical issues that affect our nation, through education, conversation, and activism.” The Oliver’s started Change the Ref in memory of their son, Joaquin Oliver, who was just a few short months away from graduating when he was killed in the Parkland shooting. 

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting was a tragedy, but from it has bloomed a new era of activists both young and old finding their voices in the memories of those lost. Today, we remember those 17 killed in the shooting:

  • Alyssa Alhadeff, 14
  • Scott Beigel, 35
  • Martin Duque, 14
  • Nicholas Dworet, 17
  • Aaron Feis, 37
  • Jaime Guttenberg, 14
  • Chris Hixon, 49
  • Luke Hoyer, 15
  • Cara Loughran, 14
  • Gina Montalto, 14
  • Joaquin Oliver, 17
  • Alaina Petty, 14
  • Meadow Pollack, 18
  • Helena Ramsay, 17
  • Alex Schachter, 14
  • Carmen Schentrup, 16
  • Peter Wang, 15