"March for Our Lives," a student-led event against gun violence happening March 24 in Washington, was launched by survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., but has quickly spread to spawn hundreds of "sibling marches" in cities across the world, including Philadelphia.
Philly's event will start around 9:30 a.m. March 24 at Fifth and Market Streets, leading the thousands expected to attend through Old City and onto Lombard Circle along Christopher Columbus Boulevard. Speakers include Sen. Bob Casey (D, Pa.), Mayor Kenney and Jami Amo, a Columbine High School massacre survivor, as well as other activists and representatives from other groups.
>> READ MORE: Live updates from the marches in Philly and D.C.
About 20 people — adults and students — are helping to organize what could turn into a massive event. Organizers of the Women's March on Philadelphia have also provided advice.
But there are four main organizers spearheading the effort: A Philadelphia woman passionate against gun violence, a University of Pennsylvania senior nearing the end of her college career, a 16-year-old high school sophomore with lacrosse practice to balance, and a high school senior already involved in politics.
Here's more about them.
Romaine Wright, a 35-year-old corporate trainer and consultant from Philadelphia's Logan section, is serving as the main point of contact for the three student leaders. Her role is to give directional advice, communicate with the city to iron out logistics, and organize other meetings necessary for planning.
Wright said she doesn't have any experience in putting together an event like the march, but volunteered to help in the hope of stirring change. For Wright, who was a student at Central High School when the Columbine High School massacre happened, the issue isn't just about school shootings but about a larger conversation on gun violence in Philadelphia. It's an issue that has touched her own life.
"I've had multiple friends and relatives become victimized by gun violence," she said. "I was in high school for the first funeral of a friend of mine who was shot."
Wright said she's using the march to help spur the conversation in Philly while also staying true to the initial cause.
"We don't necessarily see a lot of mass school shootings in Philadelphia, but gun violence is such a prevalent issue in Philadelphia, so helping people understand why this march is important for this city is something I've been actively promoting [as] an idea," Wright said.
The march is not the first time that Jana Korn, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in urban studies, has become socially active. Korn has been a part of Penn Democrats since her freshman year, and was approached by anti-gun groups to get involved in the march after having helped organize a moment of silence on Penn's campus for victims of this year's mass shootings.
"I guess I balanced whether it was better to encourage Penn students to go down to D.C. or stay in Philly," Korn said. "And I ultimately decided that the most progress that is going to get made is at the local and state level."
Korn's role in the march is mostly focused on student outreach, working closely with high schoolers as well as other students at Temple, Villanova, and Drexel Universities, as well as Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster.
"Philadelphia has shown that it really cares, and it has a voice that needs to be heard," Korn said.
Korn plans to move to Massachusetts to work as student organizer after graduation.
Ethan Block, a 16-year-old sophomore at Hopewell Valley Central High School in Mercer County, said the activism he saw from the shooting survivors at Stoneman Douglas inspired him to get involved with the Philadelphia march.
He said he's only recently started developing a deep interest in social and political issues, and exploring ways to get involved in New Jersey politics. Wright connected Block with the other student leaders, and now he's helping to recruit other high schoolers to attend the march.
"We want to continue the conversation because the last thing we want is for this march and movement to fade into the background," Block said. "This is a very serious issue, and we've delayed it for far too long."
Block is on his high school's lacrosse team and is involved with Future Business Leaders of America. The busy high schooler said he's grateful the student-led march is giving his generation a strong platform to be heard.
"I've always wanted to be a part of something like this," he said. "I'm perfectly fine with being swamped with all this work."
It was only natural for Andrew Binder, an 18-year-old senior at Unionville High School in Kennett Square, to help plan Philadelphia's "March for Our Lives."
Binder is the chair of the High School Democrats of Pennsylvania, captain of the speech and debate team, an editor of his school paper, and an Eagle Scout. He's been reaching out to schools in the Philadelphia area to share ways they can get involved in the March.
Binder said he's passionate about stopping gun violence, addressing the opioid epidemic, preserving the environment and, having a grandmother from Colombia, protecting DACA.
"The vast majority of high school students are not thinking about political issues on a daily basis … but this is one that really resonates with them," Binder said.
For him, the march is "about transforming all the energy behind this issue into tangible change" and as much about mental health reform as it is about gun reform.
"We need to take a stand," he said. "We need to show solidarity with the victims and make sure this doesn't happen again."