By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter
They are idiots.
So, on March 24 in Washington, D.C., there is going to be a huge march, the “March for Our Lives” event, where no doubt thousands of young people (and older) will express their will to do something about gun violence in America.
But not everybody can get to Washington for the march. So chapters of “March for Our Lives” are being set up across the country. Nearly a hundred sister marches are already being planned, one right here in Birmingham.
Ashley Causey, 18, and a senior at Helena High School, stepped forward and is a student leader in the effort to organize the “March for Our Lives-Birmingham” event. She’s an amazing young woman.
Ashley says she’s always been about organizing. But this is the first opportunity she’s had to participate in a nation-changing event like this. And, make no mistake, this is a nation-changing event.
There are going to be other marches in Alabama – maybe in Huntsville or in Montgomery or in Mobile. But the big one will be in Birmingham, a battleground and veteran of world-changing marches, and marches led by young people trying to change the world.
In the fall, Ashley will be attending Montevallo University to major in social work. But for the next few months, she’ll be focused on doing something about gun violence, specifically in schools, in Alabama, and in wounded America.
Already, two local meetings have been held to plan the March 24 march in Birmingham. The event will start at Railroad Park at 2 p.m. on that Saturday. The march route is still being planned, but Ashley says that it’s important that the state’s largest city hold the state’s largest march.
“If I could wish it and it’d be true, we’d want everybody in Alabama there,” Ashley says. “We’re hoping for 4,000 or 5,000 people.”
That could happen. Only a short time after the march date and times had been posted on Facebook, more than 400 people had signed up. There will be a website soon for people to register.
“We will have a site where people with disabilities can register, too,” she says. “We’re going to have a person who can sign for when speeches are given.”
Those speeches, Ashley says, will be student led.
Ashley Causey isn’t a stranger to involvement. She’s president of the Equality Alliance at Helena High School. That group used to be the Gay/Straight Alliance at the school. She’s not a stranger to controversy or difficult issues.
I’m a Safe Zone volunteer at UAB, where I teach English. I’ve been trained in LGBTQ issues, so Ashley and I are on the same page.
But the march in March is not partisan.
Ashley wants anybody, from any political party or perspective, to participate if they understand the group’s goals. The big goal: Do something about gun violence in this country.
“We want as many people involved as possible, Republican or Democrat,” or whatever, Ashley says. “We realize that’s how it’s going to get done.
“Obviously, the (National Rifle Association) is a major problem,” Ashley continues. “Whenever anybody wants to do research on guns. NRA pays our politicians, so you can’t learn the truth.”
Whenever anybody wants to do anything on guns, the NRA is the bully.
Ashley says she’s proud of the companies who have withdrawn corporate support of the NRA.
“Of course we support the Second Amendment, and nobody wants to take anybody’s gun,” Ashley says. She means it. Get off your high horse (with your assault weapon).
Does any private citizen need a gun intended to destroy enemies on a battlefield? Does anybody need a magazine that holds 30 deadly, flesh-destroying projectiles?
No. No. Dammit, no!
But, of course, Ashley and her peers are criticized from some quarters. Yes, those, just like the traumatized students who survived the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Fla.
“Well, I mean, we’ve been on the news a lot,” Ashley says. “We’ve had three or four articles. We are getting news coverage. I started to read the comments, but if you do, it’ll drive you crazy.”
Yes, it will, and I can say that from personal experience.
But Ashley Causey and her peers are not deterred. They, instead, are determined.
That’ll serve them well in the brewing storm.
Now, read the comments, if you dare. Some of them will be awful.
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected].