Parkland shooting survivor turned activist to headline Duluth ‘Rally for Peace’
David Hogg is set to speak at Leif Erickson Park. His presentation, rally organizers said, is called “Engage in the Change: Our Generation Must Own Democracy.”
DULUTH — A school-shooting survivor and gun control activist is set to headline an anti-gun-violence rally here next month.
David Hogg, one of the survivors of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, is set to speak at the “Rally for Peace,” which is scheduled for noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at Leif Erickson Park in downtown Duluth.
The rally is being organized by Peace United Church of Christ, where staff characterized it as a “gift to the youth of our community” to recognize the church’s 150th anniversary and recognize its work toward peace and justice. Hogg’s presentation, according to rally organizers, is called “Engage in the Change: Our Generation Must Own Democracy.”
"Holding a Rally for Peace that focuses on anti-gun violence in 2022 in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the racist shooting in Buffalo, New York, aligns with Peace Church's history of peacemaking,” Rev. Jim Mitulski, the church’s interim pastor, said in an emailed statement. “By inviting the prophetic voice of David Hogg to Duluth, we are saying to the young people: We hear you! We're listening! And we join with you in calling for gun control reform now. Because we love you and we want every man, woman and child to be safe in school, in stores, in their homes and in their places of worship.”
The church hosted a candlelight vigil for victims of gun violence in May, following mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.
Duluth Mayor Emily Larson is also set to speak at the rally, as well as students from area high schools and universities.
In the wake of the Parkland killings, Hogg became one of the faces of a renewed nationwide push for stricter gun control measures. He was a prominent part of the "March for Our Lives" rallies organized across the country, including in Duluth, that followed the shooting.
Hogg is also a high-profile member of “Never Again MSD,” a political action committee formed after the massacre that staged protests afterward and has pushed for legislation in Florida — Senate Bill 7026 — that allocated more money for school security and mental health, and raised the minimum age at which a resident can purchase a gun from 18 to 21.
The Parkland attack itself happened on February 14, 2018, when a former Stoneman Douglas student wielding an AR-15 rifle killed 17 people and wounded another 17 at the school before authorities arrested him about 2 miles away.
The gunman, Nikolas Cruz, pleaded guilty to the killings last fall, and is in the midst of a sentencing trial. A jury is set to consider whether he should receive the death penalty.