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Parkland Survivors And Family Members Call For Action In Pittsburgh

Ariel Worthy
90.5 WESA
Mayor Bill Peduto, members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community, and survivors and family members of victims from the Parkland, Fla. shooting speak on April 5.

On Friday afternoon, survivors and family members of victims from Parkland, Fla., emotionally recounted the devastating Feb. 14, 2018 shooting while calling for gun reform in Pittsburgh.

Alongside Mayor Bill Peduto and members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community, speakers bridged the connection between the two communities, which both faced mass shootings last year.

“It’s so important for us to be here today to share our story with a community that’s so alike ours,” said Lizzie Eaton, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. “Unfortunately, we join this club that none of us want to be a part of.”

In the year since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School—which left 17 people dead—some Parkland community members have become advocates for gun legislation.

Lori and Ilan Alhadeff, whose daughter Alyssa was killed in the shooting, founded the nonprofit Make Our Schools Safe. They’re currently advocating for the Alyssa Law, which would require schools to provide panic buttons in classrooms that would alert law enforcement.

“You can have an impact, please use your voice as your power,” Lori Alhadeff said.

On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh City Council voted 6-3 to tighten gun laws, following the Oct. 27 shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue that killed 11 and wounded seven.

“There’s a lot that Pittsburgh can learn from Parkland,” Peduto said, pointing to the organizing and community impact that grew out of that incident.

Before meeting at the City Council Building, Parkland survivors visited Taylor Allderdice High School for an assembly on gun violence and visited the Tree of Life congregation for a memorial. Later this weekend, they will be honored at a Pirates game, attend a shabbat service and talk to students at an event hosted by the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill.

“This weekend, we’re here together to join two communities, two big families that were heartbroken,” said Daniel Tabares, a student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas.