Town Hall for Our Lives: Galvanized by Parkland shooting, teens nationwide organize town hall events

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Stoneman Douglas survivors are making good on their promise to keep pushing for legislative action to combat gun violence. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)

Energized by March for Our Lives, grassroots organizers around the country will hold more than 120 town hall events with local legislators this Saturday, April 7.

Dubbed Town Hall for Our Lives, the nationwide events will address gun violence and safety weeks after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 teachers and students dead. Survivors of that massacre partnered with nonprofit Town Hall Project to assist those working to plan the meetings.

Town Hall Project said late Thursday that it had registered 129 affiliated events representing 145 districts in dozens of states, noting that many of the local organizers are high school students.

According to its website, some of those events are so-called empty chair town halls that Congressional representatives have not yet committed to attending. In districts where elected officials cannot or will not attend the constituent-organized meetings, constituents are encouraged to invite opposition candidates running in that district to speak. The organization said it hopes the events are "open and respectful to all members being invited."

Town Hall Project said that there were more of those empty chair events planned in the last 12 days than in the last 12 months combined.

When the meetings were first announced in March, Town Hall Project said 51 legislators were already holding unrelated town halls on April 7, a date that was chosen to coincide with the congressional recess when legislators are likely to be back in their districts and not in the capital.

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The meetings come less than a month after March for Our Lives, student-organized demonstrations in Washington and hundreds of other cities calling for a legislative fix to gun violence after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. Attended by hundreds of thousands, the Washington march featured 17 young speakers whose lives had been impacted by gun violence.

Two weeks after the town halls, there's also another school walkout planned for 10 a.m. on April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. There are events planned at (though not necessarily sanctioned by) nearly 2,000 schools for the National School Walkout.
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politicsMarch for Our Livesparkland school shootinggun violencegun controlschool safetygun safetyschool shootingcongressgovernmenttown hall meetingsafety