The ‘Road to Change’ Travels Through Tampa Bay
By JOHN GREGG, Correspondent, TB Reporter
The “Road to Change” is a nationwide bus tour launched by “March for Our Lives” designed to motivate, educate and register the youth of America to become involved with the political process and to vote. “Road to Change” will make three stops in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties this week.
TAMPA BAY – At March For Our Lives events all around the country on March 24, organizers pledged that the rallies were just the beginning of a long and sustained campaign to advocate for “common sense” gun control legislation and to get more of the nation’s youth involved in the political process.
Staying true to their word, organizers of March For Our Lives has launched a nationwide bus tour called “Road to Change” that is designed to motivate, educate and register the youth of America. The Florida leg of the tour will be making stops in the Tampa Bay-area this week with three separate events scheduled.
“We are striving to increase political activeness and awareness among the youth in America, specifically with issues surrounding gun violence prevention. We will be rallying; registering teens to vote; advocating for common sense gun control; and remembering victims lost to gun violence. These two days will be full of interactive political education and awareness for our youth and community,” said Jared Hampton, a local activist on the organizing committee for two of the Tampa Bay events.
Hampton, along with We the Students, Inc., a non-partisan nonprofit consisting of students from assorted Pinellas County high schools, will be co-hosting events in Clearwater tonight (July 10) and in St. Petersburg on Thursday (July 12). Organizers from March For Our Lives – Tampa Bay will co-host a third in Tampa on Saturday (July 14).
The Clearwater Road to Change event will be a town hall-style panel discussion. The panel will be comprised of 10 current and former students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Athenian Academy Charter School, 2289 N Hercules Ave. in Clearwater. Free pizza will be served to attendees. The event has already sold out, according to the registration page. Participants can email questions for panel members at firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of the event.
The second event – a voter registration and gun violence awareness rally – is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at Williams Park, 330 Second Ave. N, in St. Petersburg. Among the confirmed speakers are four Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidates: Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Elevation Financial Group CEO Chris King, and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Republican state Rep. Chris Latvala are also scheduled to speak at the rally. Parkland students will be present at this rally as well and on-site voter registration will be available.
The final local event will be another town hall student panel at 6 p.m. Saturday at the University of South Florida Marshall Student Center, 4103 Cedar Circle in Tampa. The event is free but registration is required and security measures may be in effect at the venue. Further details on the event are still emerging, but prospective attendees can RSVP here.
March For Our Lives organizers are hoping to visit every Florida Congressional district on the Florida leg of Road to Change and future events have already been scheduled in Daytona Beach, Tallahassee, Pensacola, Panama City, Jacksonville and Gainesville.
To date the Florida Road to Change tour has been a success for March For Our Lives. Reports say that 120 residents showed up for a voter registration event in Lakeland last Friday (July 6) and a report from the Sarasota Herald Tribune estimated that more than 1,000 people were turned away from the Sarasota event on June 27 because of space limitations.
For information on the March For Our Lives Road to Change Tour go to marchforourlives.com. Up-to-date information is also available via text alerts by texting “CHANGE” to 977-79. We the Students have also set up a fundraising page to help pay for expenses and donations can be made at:gofundme.com/road-to-change-st-petersburg.
File photo from March 24 March for Our Lives event in St. Petersburg. Photo by John Gregg.
March For Our Lives | Road to Change | Andrew Gillum | Gwen Graham | Philip Levine | Chris King | Rick Kriseman | Events | Tampabay News
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