Maija McManus

MassLive: Students, activists to hold 'Town Hall for Our Lives' anti-gun violence events across Massachusetts Saturday

Maija McManus
MassLive: Students, activists to hold 'Town Hall for Our Lives' anti-gun violence events across Massachusetts Saturday

Students, activists to hold 'Town Hall for Our Lives' anti-gun violence events across Massachusetts Saturday

By Shannon Young

Massachusetts students and anti-gun violence advocates will hold a series of town hall-style events across the state Saturday, allowing the public to engage with local, state and congressional officials on issues related to firearms laws and school safety. 

The events, organized by students who have partnered with March for Our Lives Boston and non-profit group Stop Handgun Violence, will take place as part of the national "Town Hall for Our Lives" project -- the latest effort to bring attention to gun violence in wake of the deadly February mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school.

The town hall-style meetings will be held in Pittsfield, Millbury, Lowell, Natick and Roxbury Saturday. 

Organizers said U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark, D-Melrose; Stephen Lynch, D-South Boston; Jim McGovern, D-Worcester; and Michael Capuano, D-Somerville, are expected to take part in the events, as well as Massachusetts state lawmakers and local elected officials.

Charlotte Lowell, an Andover High School student and town hall organizer, said the events will help students "learn and mobilize to create the change our classrooms and communities deserve."

"We may not be old enough to vote; we are certainly old enough to voice our opinions," she said in a statement.

Student organizer Maddy Art, of Mount Greylock Regional High School, added that town hall-style meetings "are vital to active democracy and a great way to get involved."

"Across the state, students are creating these opportunities to ask representatives questions and be a part of the movement to end gun violence," she said. 

John Rosenthal, the founder of Stop Handgun Violence, offered that while he has been a part of the movement for more than two decades, he appreciates "the energy and determination the youth of the country and commonwealth are bringing to this effort."

"Like other student movements, including the fight for civil rights and an end to the war in Vietnam, a passionate student movement to end preventable gun violence is exactly what is needed to hold elected officials accountable and change state and national gun laws," he said. "We are proud to support their events and we hope that together we will save lives and create lasting change."

The events will take place: at Pittsfield-based Berkshire Community College's Robert Boland Theatre from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Millbury Public Library from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.; the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Kennedy Middle School in Natick from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; and the Bolling Building in Roxbury from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.