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PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – Following the “March for Our Lives” initiative, a new organization dedicated to taking on the gun lobby has been created by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, elected officials, and others.

The “17 For Change” initiative was unveiled in Coral Springs on Wednesday and spearheaded by Broward Commissioner Mark Bogen.

“For the first time there’s an organization where an entire community has come together,” said Bogen.

The organization is dedicated to keeping up the momentum for change when it comes to taking on the gun lobby.

Standing with them was Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter Alyssa was among the 17 victims gunned down at Stoneman Douglas High on February 14th. She read a poem from would have been her daughter’s perspective as she lay dying.

“Why mom, why, I tried to run like you said but he came back with the gun and he shot me 10 times on his run, it did not hurt I was instantly dead,” she said.

Surrounded and supported by local officials, students gave impassioned speeches about where they were on that fatal day in February and what they plan to do about it.

“Not here in Parkland, not here in Broward County not anywhere else in our country,” said one student.

Organizers want to keep children safe in schools by advocating sensible gun laws. They plan to identify and track the votes of elected officials who support and oppose change. They’re also hoping to provide a nationwide accessible internet platform to bring people together from across the U.S. who are committed to sensible gun reform laws in the next election.

Ara Johnson, 15, and his twin brother are on the student advisory council for the group. They say it’s about what’s comes next, educating the public on current state and federal gun laws, and reaching out to the people who can make a difference.”

“To pinpoint officials who are not in support of the cause and we are seeking to have them replaced,” said Ara Johnson.

The organization is asking that people sign up on their website –  – to find out how they can help.

By Rielle Creighton


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