On Feb. 14, 2018, a shooter armed with a semi-automatic rifle killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Student survivors of the massacre formed March for Our Lives, a movement and demonstration in support of legislation to prevent gun violence.
A new documentary film, "Parkland Rising" follows students leading March For Our Lives, grieving parents and others who used the tragedy in Parkland to change the national conversation about gun reform. Filmmaker Cheryl Horner McDonough and March For Our Lives co-founder and former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Jaclyn Corin joined Boston Public Radio on Wednesday to speak about the film.
"The shooting now was almost two years ago and I think that two years later we're still feeling the same grief and sadness and despair that we did that very day," Corin said. "It's really important for viewers of this film to understand what we were seeing, what we were hearing that day as 16, 17, 18-year-olds just trying to go to school, and how that pain that we felt projected us into wanting to do all this activism which is what's displayed in this film."
Acts of gun violence happen everyday, but Horner McDonough said she was inspired to make the film about Parkland due to the immediate activism that arose from survivors and community members.
"These shootings are happening all across the country, all the time," Horner McDonough said. "We're not safe in movie theaters or shopping malls or schools or really anywhere, and so [Parkland] was another incident, it was another school shooting, but it was the kids who rose up in action immediately and changed the conversation. ... That was the story that I wanted to tell."
Counter-protesters of March For Our Lives often attack Corin and fellow gun reform activists on social media and verbally in-person, Corin said, but mutual understanding through peaceful conversations are able to be had.
"There were quite a few people who even bring their ARs to our events in efforts to scare us and it really just doesn't work. It just shows how much stronger we are, how much more patient we are and how determined we are to get this message across," she said. "And oftentimes, it just took a mere conversation about what we were actually trying to do, because a lot of the time our message got misconstrued as if we were trying to take everyone's guns away, but we really just wanted to make sure gun safety laws were put in place."
Horner McDonough is owner and executive producer at Gigantic! Productions.