Activists from March For Our Lives to visit ASU Tempe campus

Members from Activism For Our Lives @ ASU and MFOL activists will participate in homecoming activities together

Three days before the midterm elections, March For Our Lives and Parkland student activists are making ASU a crucial stop on their nationwide tour to encourage young adults to vote.

The tour, known as Vote For Our Lives, is an extension of the summer Road to Change program, which toured numerous states.

The activists will participate in the homecoming parade on Saturday, Nov. 3, and will host a block party by the bridge on University Road. On the ground, the group will have a booth that includes games, treats and a pledge-to-vote activity.

The pledge-to-vote is one of the most important parts of the homecoming event appearance, where Parkland students will be encouraging ASU students to vote in the upcoming midterms.

Activism For Our Lives @ ASU, an official ASU club associated with March For Our Lives, brought the tour to ASU.

The club is dedicated to educating students and the greater community on a variety of progressive issues including education, women’s rights and immigration. But AFOL @ ASU has a main focus, like MFOL, on gun reform.

Jordan Harb, the executive director for March for Our Lives Arizona, said that hst providing awareness.

In March, the Phoenix march had about 15,000 attendees and several thousand in Tucson.

“Since the march, we’ve registered 3,500 high school students to vote and currently have over 1,000 members and 50 high school clubs,” Harb said.

The leadership board for AFOL @ ASU said they all had their own reasons for affiliating with March For Our Lives.

Jacob Sumner, President and co-founder of AFOL @ ASU and a freshman studying computer science, said he has always had a passion for activism.

“I’ve always been trying to make the world better, and this was just a natural extension of that,” Sumner said. “It was a way to do more to help, make the world a better place and get other people involved in it.”

Samia Muraweh, a freshman studying mechanical engineering, is the vice president and co-founder of AFOL @ ASU, and outreach director at March For Out Lives. 

She said she helped co-found the organization because of recent shootings.

“My introduction ... was definitely after the Parkland shooting,” Muraweh said. “The value of human life by society has been diminished so much, and we’ve all become so desensitized to people losing their lives.”

Political activist Bria Smith, one of the speakers on the VFOL tour, said she joined the movement due to her personal experience with gun violence.

“I live in inner city Milwaukee, one of the most segregated cities in the nation … so gun violence is a very common thing, and it’s a kind of a condition of reality,” Smith said. “I joined the tour when some of the Parkland students asked me to join them to share my story."

Some of her points when she speaks at ASU will focus on marginalized voices involved in gun violence.

Smith said it's important to raise civic engagement among young people along with educating them about gun violence.

“Our main focus is … to increase the rate of voter turnout and kind of bridge the communication and those gaps between our constituents and elected officials,” Smith said.

Sumner said the VFOL tour is coming to ASU because Arizona and Maricopa County could swing in either direction this election. 

“The entire county makes up about 67 percent of Arizona’s voters in any election, so by getting more young people out to vote, we could have the most impact here.”

Sumner said he is optimistic for the upcoming midterms, and everyone, not only young adults, are contributing to the rise in turnout.

Read more: Record voter turnout in the primary spurs optimism among ASU students

“A prediction by NPR said we’re going to see record turnout for our midterm … by almost 50 percent,” Sumner said. “That can’t just be young people. That is every single age group turning out in record numbers this year to vote.”

Not only is overall turnout high this year, but Sumner said it will be also be a record breaker for young voters.

“(March For Our Lives) coming back is going to energize young people even more,” Sumner said. “I think we’ll set (a) record turnout for young people in this election.



Reach the reporter at mzhao49@asu.edu and follow @michelle_zhao23 on Twitter. 

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