By: Carly Levy
It has been one month since the tragic school shooting in Parkland and many students that were affected have pushed for change.
Two of those students, Adam Buchwald and Zach Hibshman, have created a movement that will give children that are too young to vote a voice come election time.
Both in their junior year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, they created Parents Promise to Kids. Because children cannot vote until they are 18, this movement requires the adults in their lives, including grandparents, to sign a pledge – or promise – to put the safety of students over guns in the next election.
“We do not want any child to ever fear for their lives once they leave their house or at school,” said Buchwald. “Guns are mass killing devices that are taking away lives, especially AR-15’s.”
Buchwald and Hibshman have known one another since their freshman year of high school and “do everything together” including playing in the Parkland basketball league and completing projects together.
On February 14, Buchwald was exiting his business class and Hibshman was in the hallway south of the freshman building when they both heard gunshots. They describe the experience as “emotional and personal” as they saw helicopters and a lot of police officers. They both had to contact their worried parents while running towards Westglades Middle School, adjacent to the high school.
After losing friends like Cara Loughran, Joaquin Oliver and Luke Hoyer, Buchwald and Hibshman realized they needed to do something.
“Right up until the tragedy, Zach came over to my house and we were literally sitting on the couch looking at each other and thinking, ‘How can we make this major change in our world?’” asked Buchwald. “Believe it or not, the word ‘promise’ came to mind.”
As part of Parents Promise to Kids, participants download a contract on the movement’s website and parents, grandparents, or even a business can sign it declaring they will vote for legislative leaders who support children’s safety over guns. After signing it, they can take a family photo of themselves holding the signed contract and post it Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #PPTK #ParentsPromiseToKids and #SafetyOverGuns.
“Our whole foundation on how this whole word [promise] can get big is: what parent breaks a promise to their child?” asks Hibshman. “The answer to that is not a very good one.”
After reaching out to influential people, attending events, making phone calls and emails to spread the word, their movement made national news on NBC, CNN and The New Yorker. They were also shared online by Emma Gonzales, David Hogg, Alyssa Milano, and George Takei. So far, over 2,300 people have downloaded contracts.
After high school, Buchwald and Hibshman both plan on going into business with Buchwald leaning more towards the technology field. They both want to continue with Parents Promise to Kids for many years and will continue tweeting out photos of contracts on social media.
Find out more on www.parentspromisetokids.org.