Youth Against Gun Violence: We’re here to create significant change

HELENA – After the deadly Florida shooting that left 17 dead, local students are banding together hoping to create change around gun violence.

The newly formed Helena Youth Against Gun Violence group held its second meeting at C.R. Anderson Middle School Wednesday afternoon. The cafeteria tables were packed with mostly high school students from Capital High School and Helena High discussing efforts to reduce gun violence. The group planned a march for March 24 that coincides with the national March for Our Lives Movement that arose after the Parkland shooting.

Organizers stressed that it’s not a partisan issue and the group is open to any ideas that might help the situation.

“We’re all joined here to express our ideas. They may not all be the same, but we’re here to express our ideas and create some significant change for the future and the coming generations,” Noah Whitehorn, a junior at Capital High School, said.

The group is also working with school leaders to facilitate a walk-out on March 14 at 10 a.m. where students will silently get up and walk out of class. On Wednesday, the group also discussed plans to send postcards to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as a show of solidarity and support.

A parent helping the students organize the March said capitol building administrators told her a counter march is scheduled at the Capitol grounds on March 24 by a group called March for Our Guns.

However, Whitehorn said Youth Against Gun Violence is not about gun control and actually avoids using the words because of the emotions surrounding the phrase.

“We want people to enjoy their constitutional rights and enjoy all the freedoms our country has to offer, but we want them to be safe while doing so,” Whitehorn said.