On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of North Texas students are going to try to do what adults haven't be able to figure out. They're going to confront America's gun violence epidemic in a way that actually gets something done.
When the students take to the streets in solidarity with the victims and survivors of February's high school massacre in Parkland, Florida, they won't be calling for anyone's guns or even a ban on semiautomatic weapons. Instead, Dallas students participating in the March for Our Lives will raise their voices in favor of making changes that they believe Texans can support.
"We have three specific policies that we're really trying to push for," says Waed Alhayek, one of the student organizers of Dallas' March for Our Lives. "We want a ban on bump stocks and high-capacity magazines and to have universal background checks."
The marchers aren't calling for more significant reform because they think that Texas is more suited to an incremental approach.
"We know that in Texas, we kind of have to appeal to the masses," Alhayek says. "These three policies are really common sense. It's not something out there. We're not trying to throw a policy out there that we think is not doable. These policies are important."
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For Alhayek, a public relations major at the University of Texas at Arlington, controlling gun violence is personal. When she was a 7-year-old growing up in Detroit, a man entered convenience store and held her and her friend hostage before eventually letting the girls go.
"That moment changed my life forever," Alhayek says. "Seeing the Parkland kids really get involved inspired me to speak up, tell my story and create as much change as I possibly can."
Dallas' March for Our Lives will start at 1 p.m. Saturday at Dallas City Hall, and marchers will walk past the Dallas police memorial and around the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center — which, organizers note, is the site of the 2018 NRA National Convention — before returning to City Hall Plaza to rally and listen to speakers. Adults supporting the students are encouraged to wear red and line the parade route.