FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Rosenthal
Boston, MA – Today, Massachusetts non-profit Stop Handgun Violence, March For Our Lives: Boston, and national youth-led gun reform movement 50 Miles More announce the launch of a 50 mile march across Massachusetts. The 50 Miles More: Massachusetts march, led by local youth activists, will begin in Worcester on August 23nd and end August 26th with a rally at Smith & Wesson in Springfield at 12:00pm. The march and rally aim to keep gun reform issues in the national spotlight and to draw attention to the fact that young people feel unsafe in their neighborhoods, classrooms, movie theaters, restaurants and homes.
Students are targeting Smith & Wesson for their role in producing and selling weapons used in many mass shootings – including the tragedies in Parkland, San Bernardino, and Aurora – and for their weapons’ contribution to daily gun violence in communities across the country. The students ask that Smith & Wesson:
- Cease the manufacture and distribution of all weapons outlawed under the 2004 Massachusetts Assault Weapons Ban including Attorney General Maura Healey’s copycat weapon enforcement.
- Donate $5,000,000 to research violence caused by Smith & Wesson weapons and monitor illegal use of Smith & Wesson weapons to offset the lack of federal research funding for the gun violence epidemic.
“This 50 Mile walk is about accountability,” said student organizer Vikiana Petit-Homme.“Smith & Wesson continues to profit from guns used in horrific mass shootings and daily gun violence in our communities. We have had enough. We are demanding that they work with us to be a part of the solution, not the problem.”
“I am proud to live in the state with the lowest gun deaths in the nation,” said student organizer Jack Torres. “I am proud of our laws, our legislature, and governor for their stances on this issue. But what I am not proud of is that I live in the state that produces guns that are responsible for taking the lives of people all throughout this country. It is high time manufacturers join the conversation about ending gun violence. We’re bringing the fight to them because we have had enough. ”
“We are so excited to be working with the students of Massachusetts on their march,” said 50 Miles More co-founder and Executive Director Katie Eder. “This movement is incredibly powerful because the youth leading it are smart, strategic, and connected. Every step we take, we take toward the same goal — to making this country safer for everyone in it. That is why we launched #50more in #50states and why we will continue to fight tirelessly together to keep the momentum going on this movement.”
“We are proud to support the efforts of the students of 50 Miles More Massachusetts” said John Rosenthal, founder of Stop Handgun Violence “For too long, Smith & Wesson has received the benefit of Massachusetts’s strong state gun laws while exporting firearms not legal here in Massachusetts across stateliness to inflict violence and terror on other communities.”
50 Miles More is a national youth-led gun reform organization that began this spring when students from across Wisconsin marched from Madison to Janesville in a gun reform protest that gained international media attention. 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 months since their march and rally in Janesville, 50 Miles More has been rallying their forces in communities across the country to take their #50More in #50States initiative nationwide. And this fall they are partnering with the leaders behind the National School Walkout to launch a multi-state Gen-Z voter engagement campaign to make sure that the politicians in office are truly representing the people they serve.
March for Our Lives: Boston (MFOL Boston) is a Massachusetts based non-profit organization seeking to liberate communities from systemic gun violence and empower young people to be politically active. MFOL: Boston is a volunteer, student-led initiative including a coalition of students from a wide range of high schools, universities, and community youth organizations across Massachusetts. The organization engages in electoral politics and community organizing to encourage conversation and action against the gun violence epidemic in Massachusetts and in the United States.