More than 150 Ohio students and their parents will depart from Cleveland and Columbus Friday night to participate in a demonstration that organizers are calling “March For Our Lives” Saturday in Washington, D.C.
Organizers say the buses will include students from every corner of the state looking to participate in the rally.
The D.C. event is being organized by the survivors of the February Parkland, Florida, school shooting where 17 students and teachers were killed. Demonstrators are calling on lawmakers to enact stricter gun laws and other measures to make schools safer.
The Ohio group will not just participate in the march, which is expected to draw more than 500,000 people Saturday, but will also attend educational workshops in the nation’s capital to teach them about the importance of community activism, voting and how to cope in stressful environments.
“We want to empower them to make change in themselves, but also in their communities and in our government,” Ohio organizer Christian Tamte said of the trip, “and to make the changes that they want to see in the world.”
Tamte, the owner of Columbus-based Rise Travel, said her work often focuses on more than just getting people to an event, but on getting them involved in their communities. The student trip, Tamte said, was inspired by her work with the Women’s March in 2017.
“We hope [these young people] understand and feel that their voices are important and that they are heard and that they make a difference,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re 7 or 70, you are a valuable part of our lives and our community.”
The national organization behind the Washington march says more than 800 sister marches are also happening Saturday worldwide.
Rallies are scheduled in all of Ohio’s major cities, including Cleveland’s Public Square, Cincinnati’s City Hall, Courthouse Square in Dayton, and in downtown Columbus.