FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aileen Berquist
Madison, WI – Last week, students from across Wisconsin marched from Madison to Janesville in a March For Our Lives event that gained international media attention. Standing in solidarity with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and taking inspiration from the 54-mile Selma to Montgomery march for civil rights, their four day, 50 mile march to Speaker Paul Ryan’s hometown was just the beginning. In the week since their march and rally in Janesville, 50 Miles More has been rallying their forces in Wisconsin and communities across the country to take their #50More in #50States initiative nationwide.
“We targeted Paul Ryan because we wanted to draw attention to his consistent burying of sensible gun reform legislation as Speaker of the House. But Wisconsin and Paul Ryan were just the beginning,” said Katie Eder, march co-organizer and senior in high school. “We are challenging youth in the rest of the 49 states to hold a 50 mile march to the hometown or office of one of their elected representatives before the November elections. We have heard from students across the country who are ready to take action and rally around common sense gun reform and the #50More challenge. We are ready to support these groups in any way we can to keep this issue in the spotlight and pressure on lawmakers.”
“Gun violence crosses racial, social, and political party lines”, said Alemitu Caldart, march co-organizer and freshman in high school “We had people from both political parties, different communities, religions, and backgrounds at our march, all fighting for the same thing: common sense gun reform so that no child in any community has to live in fear when they walk to the store, go to a movie theater, or attend school. We have found a way to gather a really diverse group of young people together to make change, and we are not going to be silenced or pushed aside. We are powerful, and we are going to help other kids find their own power.”
“When we started 50 Miles More, we knew we wanted to expand to other states and support other young activists in their effort to keep the media and politicians from moving gun violence out of the spotlight. Our march was a huge success, and we aren’t going to stop demanding change. Now it’s time to help young people in other states target their own NRA-funded politicians who refuse to pass common sense gun reform.” said Brendan Fardella, march co-organizer and senior in high school.
March for Our Lives: 50 Miles More organizers are developing a toolkit for activists in other states to put on their own 50 Mile Marches. They will also provide resources and technical assistance to engage young people in voter registration, voter turnout, and civic engagement.
From MARCH ON Executive Director Vanessa Wruble: “Working with 50 Miles More to help them achieve their vision has been an incredible experience. They are driven, knowledgeable, compassionate, and fierce proponents of intersectionality and building an inclusive movement. They have great instincts and are already proving to be exceptional leaders and role models for other youth. We cannot wait to see how far they take #50More in #50States, and we are ready to assist them every step of the way.”
MARCH ON is a new political organization comprised of women-led political activist groups that grew out of the women’s marches of January 21, 2017. They have come together as a united force to take concrete, coordinated actions at the federal, state, and local levels to impact elections and take our country in a better direction. March On is not affiliated with Women’s March, Inc.