Poster painting helps Tucson organizers prepare for March For Our Lives

Ahead of next weekend's march, organizers painted signs in downtown Tucson (Source: Tucson News...
Ahead of next weekend's march, organizers painted signs in downtown Tucson (Source: Tucson News Now).
Updated: Mar. 18, 2018 at 9:40 PM MST
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Students across the country have been organizing since the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida...
Students across the country have been organizing since the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida (Source: Tucson News Now).

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - With markers, paint, brushes, and poster boards, they were armed with the tools to take action.

A dozen people devoted to the efforts of what will be thousands taking to the streets of Tucson gathered Sunday, March 18, in the basement of the Joel D. Valdez Main Library downtown, to prepare for what's ahead.

A March For Our Lives will be held Saturday, March 24, as the Tucson rally and march will mirror the hundreds of similar rallies and marches taking place around the country.

"On March 24, the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today," the national website stated.

The national movement was made by students like William Aaronson.

"We just felt that it's the need for us to stand up and give our input," said Aaronson, a Tucson High School junior.

He remembers when it started -- February 14, 2018.

That's the day Aaronson learned 17 people, 14 of them his age, were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

"We're just like, 'Oh my God. This is insane,'" Aaronson said.

Since then, he and his classmates have not been dwelling on the dwelling on the devastation, but pushing forward with a chance to change.

"Just a beehive of activity. We're so inspired by the students in Parkland, Florida," said Marea Jenness, a teacher at Tucson High School and the faculty adviser of the Tucson High School Human Rights Club. "I've been waiting my whole life for an awakening of young people in this country."

Signs were shaped Sunday night, as posters were plastered with the proposals they hope lawmakers hear. Jenness is helping her students along the way.

"A lot of adults have taken several steps back and let students lead all of this, along with the political content of it and where they're going to go. The message they're trying to deliver is a student-led message," Jenness said.

The message is one that Grace Penry, a freshman at the University of Arizona, wishes came sooner. She is helping to organize the march planned for Saturday morning.

The march will start at Jacome Plaza at 11:00 a.m. Saturday. The group will go north on Stone Avenue, east on 6th Street, north on 4th Avenue, then east on University Boulevard and walk to the UA Mall where the rally will take place until about 4:00 p.m. Saturday. Organizers said that those who are unable to walk the route can meet at the UA Mall around 1:00 p.m.

"There's been so many other big issues, especially with gun control, and it's sad that we had to wait so long for something like this for a movement to actually start happening," Penry said.

Penry and Aaronson are jumping in full-force, and Jenness couldn't be happier.

"They feel like they're being awakened to the world around them for the first time in their lives," Jenness said. "For the first time in their lives, even more importantly, they feel like maybe they can change the world."

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