February 14, 2018 – the nation’s largest mass school shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, resulting in 17 casualties and sparking one of the largest nationwide protests in the past decade. On Thursday, April 19, a school letter writing campaign to Florida representatives started by two American Heritage students began, continuing the #NEVERAGAIN movement support as well as voicing student opinion through official letters.
Junior Jordyn Allen, one of the student leaders who started the “A Letter to Your Congressman” campaign this year, initiated the event through a non-profit organization called Jack and Jill of America. Allen, along with fellow junior Solimar Sanchez, decided on spreading this initiative through school administration and the student body.
“After the Parkland incident, teens across the country have protested, but it’s about way more than protesting; these legislators work for us,” Allen said. “Trying to make students find their voice in society is what I strive to do on a daily basis, so I wanted to give kids an outlet where they could sit down and write a letter to their representative, whether it be thanking them, giving a solution to a societal problem or expressing their concerns.”
This is the second time Allen and Sanchez write letters to Florida representatives in collaboration with the ACT club, which strives for gun reform and organizes protests, walk outs and meetings with local Broward representatives.
Students who participated believe that letter writing is a crucial aspect towards the demand for change. “Representative offices constantly receive mail every day.” said Junior Sarah Dickey. “For them to physically go through hundreds and even thousands of letters that regard our demand for change, they feel overwhelmed. That makes me feel as if this platform allows our voice to be heard, and I approve of it.”
The day after Allen and Sanchez’s letter writing campaign, the school’s first official walkout took place on the football field with high school students and hundreds of online viewers. As the demand for gun reform sweeps the nation, students show their solidarity with the movement through acts like these – a positive reinforcement of what free speech really means.