February 15, 2020

Valentine’s Day marked the two-year anniversary of the Parkland, Florida shooting that galvanized the survivors into action against gun violence. Current Stoneman Douglas senior Sari Kaufman visited AM Joy with a status report on their accomplishments.

Kaufman said that what she’s most proud of is how gun violence, once “the third rail of politics,” is now “front and center” in our national dialogue. She noted that the presidential candidates are putting forth plans to combat gun violence and that states are passing legislation such as red flag and background check laws. “We’re definitely proud of the amount of action that has happened over the past two years,” Kaufman said, but “we still keep fighting for more gun violence prevention, especially on a federal level.”

Even pro-gun Florida has passed red flag laws, Kaufman pointed out. She said she lobbied in Tallahassee two weeks ago for new legislation providing stronger background checks. “There's a lot more work to do but we've definitely seen a good progression in Florida,” she added.

As you would imagine, the shooting continues to take an emotional toll. Kaufman said, “It definitely overshadowed a lot of my high school experience and feeling just like a kid.” It has also given her “a sense of responsibility to keep fighting for gun violence prevention so it doesn't happen to other schools and really to honor the victims and my friends and classmates who passed away in the shooting.” The anniversary was “extremely difficult,” Kaufman said. Even though it has brought more unity to the community, “I don't think we'll ever forget what happened and the memories of that day. We'll always think about it every single day and the lives that we lost.

Kaufman and her classmates are “super excited” about voting in the upcoming presidential election, she said. They’re doing voter registration drives at schools in the area and “getting as many students as possible to be registered and then have the right information to go vote.”

Fortunately for all of us, this young lady has a bright future. She plans to attend Yale in the fall.

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