Parkland shooting survivor speaks to Arcadia students about gun control, politics

Andrew Kramer
October 14, 2019 - 8:56 pm
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GELNSIDE, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — One of the survivors of the Parkland, Florida high school massacre was in the Delaware Valley Monday to talk to Arcadia University students.

"I'm here at Arcadia to talk to the young people about the importance of being politically involved, especially in a state like Pennsylvania being so competitive," David Hogg told KYW Newsradio. "And to spread awareness and education about the new March for Our Lives Peace Plan, which is a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence in the United States by about 50 percent, or about 200,000 deaths over the course of 10 years."

Hogg spoke to hundreds of students and also signed copies of the book he and other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School survivors wrote.

They've been publicly advocating for gun reform in the United State since that Feb. 14, 2018 shooting.

Hogg said they've made progress but aren't where they want to be quite yet.

"Universal background checks are not going to be enough until there's not a single mom or father in the United States that doesn't have to know the pain of what it's like to lose a child to gun violence," he said. "And there's no single child that has to worry about dying on their way to school, or a child that's in their school and is always worried about whether or not the seat they're sitting in is going to end up being the place they die in."

There's been a recent uptick in gun violence in Philadelphia, including on Sunday when six people were shot in North Philly. A 14-year-old was one of the victims in that shooting.

"As hard as it may be, try to maintain and hold peace in your heart and maintain that peace for really the safety of the community as a whole," he said when asked if he has any advice for those living in neighborhoods affected by this violence. "Because violence only creates more violence. And what we need more is the people that are able to go out there and not be the ones that perpetrate that pain and trauma with a bullet and a gun."

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Arcadia senior Kaitlin Jock was one of the students who came to hear what Hogg had to say. She met him earlier in the day as he addressed a smaller group of students and had some questions for him and his former classmates.

"Where they see March for Our Lives going next and what keeps a young activist in this kind of issue hopeful and looking forward to a future where gun reform and these kinds of issues are possible," she told KYW Newsradio.

Jock was glad someone with a "social justice mind" came to campus. 

Hogg also told students it's important for young voters in the upcoming election to not vote Democrat or Republican, but instead for "Americans that care about our future and our children dying on a daily basis."

Arcadia students read the March for Our Lives book as part of their first year "Common Read" seminar program.

Hogg suggested people in Pennsylvania visit the group's website if interested in creating a chapter in the state.