Local students reflect on Parkland school shooting one year later
It's been one year since the devastating high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen innocent lives were lost that day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The shooting reignited the gun control debate and fueled a national movement led by students. It's a day some don't want to remember, but instead, they think about the lives lost and conversation it's sparked across the nation.
A year has gone by and there hasn't been one Anika Iqbal hasn't thought about what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
"I don't know how I could go to school every day after a shooting like that and feel comfortable," Iqbal said.
It's why she feels so connected to her peers in Florida and why she joined Chattanooga Students Leading Change (CSLC).
"It sparked the student movement against gun violence and so people in my community started getting together and organizing CSLC," she said.
The student activists have accomplished a lot in one year and made their presence known locally, at the state level and even took their concerns to Washington D.C.
They met with Governor Haslam, Bob Corker, Chuck Fleischmann and multiple representatives. They admit some of those meetings did not go as planned.
"There was a lot of picture taking and smiling but not a lot of conversation with a few of them," Iqbal said.
They also organized the 'March for our Lives' rally and held vigils for the victims. With another rally planned for this weekend at Miller Park.
Some student groups pushing for gun reform have been criticized for pushing a political agenda. Iqbal said they are entirely student run and is okay with people who don't agree.
"General disagreement which we get a lot when we talk about these things isn't a bad thing because I think conversation sparks action," she explained.
No doubt an uphill battle, but these students say they are fighting for everyone's right to feel safe at school.
"It's been a year and 17 people are still dead and it's hard seeing this day being so important and people not caring as much especially when there's still things that need to be done," Iqbal said.
CSLC is made up of about 30 middle and high school students from both public and private schools in Hamilton County.
On Saturday, Chattanooga Students Leading Change will host a remembrance rally for the 17 victims of the mass shooting. It will take place in Miller Park on February 16, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.