By| Giselle Thomas

The Florida Parent Teacher Association held a candlelight vigil at the Centre of Tallahassee for the 17 students and staff who were murdered in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The mass shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, is known as one of the world’s deadliest school massacres.

Parents, family, and friends gathered to pay homage to their loved ones. Danielle Thomas, the Florida PTA Resolution Chair said that the vigils symbolize unity.  

“What we’ve done at Florida PTA is to really come together and provide vigils all across the state of Florida,” Thomas said. “We want the students, victim’s families and friends to know that we are here to love them, and we are here to wrap our arms around them. We stand with them and want them to know that they are not in this alone. “

The vigil started later than scheduled, due to the anticipation of students from Stoneman Douglas High school. Upon arrival, the students were welcomed by a standing ovation from the crowd of supporters.

Angie Gallow the Legislative Chair for the Florida PTA said they are tired of waiting around for change.

“Tonight, we honor the lives lost, tomorrow we fight,” Gallow said. “We’re asking our lawmakers to hear some of the bills that we have in legislation. We have had a ban on assault weapons and we’ve had background check bills for the last two years up in Tallahassee. They haven’t been heard in committee and we want action.”

She also mentioned the importance of the high school students speaking their mind.

“I want all the adults to sit down and let the kids talk. Because their voice is much more powerful than mine. They will be able to accomplish things we cannot,” Gallow said.

With over a hundred people in attendance, the vigil lasted for an hour and a half. Starting with an opening prayer from a pastor and closing with a moment of silence for the 17 lost lives.

Robyn Rachin a parent and supporter of the vigil said the shooting hits close to home. “I’m the mom of a teenager and I send her to school every day, and I expect her to come home,” Rachin said. “I can’t imagine what these families are going through. “

Through the efforts of the student’s and parent’s rallying at the Capitol and personally speaking to legislators. Florida’s governor, Rick Scott has moved the age to purchase rifles from 18 to 21-years-old.

Although there is no guarantee on the ban of A-15 assault weapons, the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has not only affected the State of Florida but the entire nation.


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