PITTSBURG — On Saturday, community members are planning to march in solidarity with the March For Our Lives rally in Washington D.C.
The Washington D.C. rally is intended to bring issues of gun control and school shootings to the forefront of discussion.
The event, hosted by the Progressive Democrats of the 13th Senate District of Kansas, will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, starting in front of Pittsburg Community Middle School and ending at the Prichett Pavillion.
People who cannot or do not wish to walk the distance can meet the group around 1:30 p.m. at the pavillion.
There will be guest speakers including Pittsburg State University students and teachers, students from Pittsburg High School — some of whom helped organize the all-school “walkout” last week — Pittsburg Major and Progressive Democrats of the 13th Senate District of Kansas Chair Jeremy Johnson and Kansas State Representative Monica Murnan (D-Pittsburg).
The presenters will give different perspectives on gun safety from school to government, Johnson said.
PHS student and member of the Equality Club, Ximena Ibarra will be one of the speakers. She said the march will help continue student activism, including connecting with the community who can help talk to senators and vote.
“We will further talk about it [recent shootings and walkout] and what has happened since … student activism does matter,” she said. “We shouldn’t just stop at walkouts and rallies, the community can talk to senators and vote and other means.”
Johnson said they chose the middle school to begin the rally because the march is school related.
The group planned to join in on the rally in response to the students who “spoke up and took action” after the recent shooting in Florida, Johnson said.
“It reflects that energy and students here,” he said about the PHS “walk out” last week.
March for Our Lives brings the community in on the conversation with the students, Johnson said.
“We are looking for policy solutions,” he said.
For Johnson, he has his own concerns about concealed carry in public places.
“Knowing I can walk into the library where they can carry guns, with my family is frankly terrifying to me,” he said.
In the past few years, Kansas has passed several bills loosening carry laws in the state, including allowing people to carry in public buildings.
Johnson said March for Our Lives encourages people to wear black, but any clothing choice is up to the participant. People are also welcome to bring signs, he said. To keep updated people can visit the March for Our Lives — Pittsburg Facebook page.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.