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Thousands to march on Arizona’s capitol in response to Florida shooting

High school students Mia Arrington, center, 18, of West End, and Cheyenne Springette, right, 17, of Mt. Oliver, lead chants as they march down Liberty Avenue during a walk-out in solidarity with other high schools across the country to show support for Parkland, Fla, students on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in downtown Pittsburgh. In a wave of demonstrations reaching from Arizona to Maine, students at dozens of U.S. high schools walked out of class Wednesday to protest gun violence and honor the victims of last week's deadly school shooting in Florida. (Stephanie Strasburg/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

PHOENIX — Two teenagers in Arizona have organized a protest in an effort to call for a change in gun laws, mental health education and school safety following last week’s deadly Florida high school shooting. 

Samantha Lekberg, a Willow Canyon High School student, and Jordan Harb, a student at Mountain View High School, are two of the organizers of the #MarchForOurLives in Phoenix.

The march is set to kick off at the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix at 10 a.m. on March 24.

In the description on the event’s Facebook page, the march is described as a “student-led protest in response to gun violence that have resulted in tragedies time and time again.

“We encourage EVERYONE to attend. This is our time to push for a change in gun laws, mental health education, and security in schools. We will be heard and things WILL change,” it read.

So far, more than 1,500 people have said they will attend the event and more than 4,500 people have said they are interested in the event.

The march was organized in response to a mass shooting at a high school in Florida, when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz allegedly shot and killed 17 people at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.

Students, survivors take to streets following Florida shooting

In the week following the shooting, students across the nation have joined survivors of the shooting in calling for gun safety and gun control reforms.

In a wave of demonstrations reaching from Arizona to Maine, students at dozens of U.S. high schools walked out of class Wednesday to protest gun violence and honor the victims.

The protests spread from school to school as students shared plans for their demonstrations over social media and many lasted 17 minutes in honor of the 17 people killed.

Hundreds of students from Maryland schools left class to rally at the U.S. Capitol. Hundreds more filed out of their schools in cities from Chicago to Pittsburgh to Austin, Texas, often at the lunch hour. Thousands walked out in Florida.

At the protest in Washington, students held a moment of silence in memory of those killed in Parkland and listened as the names of the dead were recited. Daniel Gelillo, a senior at Richard Montgomery High in Rockville, Maryland, helped organize the protest and said students aimed to pressure lawmakers to act on gun control.

Up until now, he said, nothing has quite fazed them.

“The Orlando shooting, Las Vegas and now Parkland,” he said. “Something has to happen. Innocent people are dying because of the easy access to firearms in this country.”

At Dublin Scioto High School near Columbus, Ohio, about 200 students sat outside in silence for 17 minutes and wrote notes of support that will be mailed to survivors of the Florida shooting. Afterward, they gathered in a circle to discuss how they could push for stronger gun control.

“No child should have to go to school and be scared for their life,” said Daviyana Warren, a 15-year-old sophomore at the school who walked out. “It hits close to home because it’s happening to us.”

While some groups have worked to organize national demonstrations in the coming weeks, students say gatherings Wednesday were mostly impromptu and organized out of a sense of urgency to find solutions to gun violence.

Many of the protests were accompanied by chants of “Never again,” which has been a rallying cry since the Florida shooting.

“These gun deaths are happening like every day, and we’re not doing anything to change it. It’s ridiculous,” said Rebecca Parch, a student who organized a walkout at Lakewood High School, near Cleveland. “It’s just too many lives lost, and I think that teenagers are just done with it now.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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