On February 14, 2018, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that took the lives of 17 people, 15 of whom were students, shook the nation. As many grieved in silence, others spoke out about the tragedy on Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. Sophie Capalbo, a senior at Johnson and Wales University, saw what happened not as another chance to post her condolences on social media, but as an opportunity to make a change.
Capalbo says she was sitting in her room when the numbness from recent shootings wore off, leaving her feeling rage as she watched the news reporting the event. According to Capalbo, “It was the last straw.” She was left feeling as though she had to do something, but unsure where to start. She decided a march would be the best and most effective way to get the point across and get people’s attention. Still keeping up with the news, she witnessed the surviving teens from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School announce their plans for a peaceful March for Our Lives in Washington, DC, and encourage other communities to march in support; this overjoyed Capalbo because it gave her the platform to make her idea a reality.
She immediately decided to organize a March for Our Lives in RI, and spread the word by creating posters that announced the date and the time the march would take place and plastering them up everywhere. People took notice and soon, students at her school were posting about it all over Facebook. Capalbo, who is a member of a sorority, asked the Greek community and her senior classmates for help.
Before long, people were signing up to speak at the event, and efforts began to get state officials to attend. Capalbo hopes that after this march and the marches across the nation, legislators will get a wake-up call that change is due. “Rather than sitting back and praying and hoping for change, action is actually getting played out,” said Capalbo.
The march is set to take place on the State House lawn on March 24 at 1pm, and will include high school and college student speakers. There will also be different organizations in attendance, such as Moms Demand Action, and voter registration tables will be set up for those who are 18 or will be 18 before the November election and wish to register to vote. The march will also include music, and independent fundraisers will be held. Capalbo is currently working on getting more state officials and the mayor to be in attendance and show their support.
Capalbo encourages everyone to attend the march. “It not only shows physical support, it also shows emotional support for Parkland, to tell them, ‘We stand with you.’” She also says its important as a community and even more so as a nation to come together. To her, this march is the perfect opportunity to “build up what has been broken down.” If you agree then don’t just tweet your support — come on out and march.
March for Our Lives RI will take place on Mar 24 from 1 – 3pm, starting at the RI State House. For more information, visit: facebook.com/events/190205921712346 or marchforourlives.com