By Bill Parry
House Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), announced a new initiative to encourage student gun safety advocates from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to intern this summer on Capitol Hill and continue their advocacy on gun safety measures.
Crowley was inspired by student leaders he met with at the Renaissance School in Jackson Heights in March, one day before they took part in the National Student Walkout to honor the 17 victims of the mass school shooting that took place in Parkland, Fla., one month earlier.
“No doubt. I think of the calibre of the students at the Renaissance School and their thoughts and concerns and then I thought of the leadership shown by the Parkland survivors and the March for Our Lives movement,” Crowley said. “But it’s not just the Parkland students, but Santa Fe too.”
A student at Santa Fe High School in Texas killed 10 people and injured 13 others.
“Any survivors of school shootings could intern and see how things work on the Hill themselves and we could learn from each other,” Crowley said. “It’s also an opportunity for people who think differently from them to learn from them, perhaps an exchange of ideas over breakfast. You never know.”
Crowley, the House Democratic Caucus chairman, and several House Democratic leaders, sent a letter to their colleagues urging them to open their offices to school shooting survivors.
“We have all been impressed with the leadership and passion shown by the students around the country on the issue of gun violence prevention. Through efforts like the March for Our Lives, students have been speaking up and demanding action on the issues like never before, and they are an inspiration to many of us,” the lawmakers wrote. “That is why we are encouraging members to host an intern in their office this summer to work on the issue of gun violence prevention and bring their personal dedication to this issue.”
The Democratic leaders are enthusiastic about their colleagues working with the students on the issue and continue pushing for bipartisan, common-sense proposals to prevent gun violence and provide real solutions to keeping schools safe.
Meanwhile, Crowley, who is facing a primary challenge for the first time in 14 years, will face his opponent, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. in a televised primetime debate June 15 on NY1.
“I’m looking forward to a discussion about my record of service and having another opportunity to share with the voters of the Bronx and Queens my vision for the community,” Crowley said. “There’s so much at stake in the 2018 election and Democrats must be united in our efforts to create new jobs, expand access to health care, secure immigrant rights, and fighting back against President Trump’s hate-filled agenda.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr