“We have walked out. We have marched. Now we vote.”
That's the message that a group of Colorado youth — some of whose members are students at Columbine High School — is spreading with a national movement it's launching called Vote for Our Lives.
According to Madison Rose, one of the organization's three founders, Vote for Our Lives will register new voters, including those who are just turning eighteen, in order to broaden an electorate focused on holding politicians accountable for sensible gun policies and making schools safer. The idea is to build upon student organizing in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shootings and the March 24 March for Our Lives, more than 800 versions of which were held internationally, including a massive demonstration in Denver.
Rose says that Vote for Our Lives is its own organization, though she is also the vice president of Never Again Colorado, which organized Denver's March for Our Lives and a recent town hall.
The students in Colorado are working with large national groups, including Everytown for Gun Safety, to recruit local organizers to host voter-registration events in their own cities around the nation. At the moment, Rose says, those events include over thirty rallies in places such as Parkland, San Francisco and Houston. There's also a voter-registration rally happening in Littleton at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, at Clement Park by Columbine.
“They're basically voter-registration rallies, but it's also to help educate young people,” Rose says. On April 19, “we'll have speakers who are survivors. We're flying out students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School," the school in Parkland where seventeen people lost their lives on February 14.
Vote for Our Lives co-founder and Chatfield high-schooler Sam Craig has been in contact with Parkland survivor David Hogg, whom Fox News host Laura Ingraham recently mocked. "Sam is in close contact with David Hogg, who's been on the phone with us and is helping with support,” Rose says. “The Parkland survivors have given their blessing. That was really helpful."
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Rose says that educating new voters is a large part of her organization's mission.
“The subject we're passionate about is getting the conversation started of not necessarily gun control, but how can we make our schools safer for students,” she says. “And any way we can do that while still finding common ground with people who may not align with our same views is what we're trying to achieve. Education is a big part of this.
"So it's not just registering people to vote, but having people knowing what you're voting for, who you're voting out, who you're voting in," Rose continues. "We don't want to tell people what to think, but supply the information so hopefully they'll form their own opinion."
For more information on the April 19 Vote for Our Lives rally in Littleton, check out the Facebook event page.