This weekend, students and adults in Chattanooga will come together to join a national movement calling for an end to gun violence and safer schools.
Chattanooga's March for Our Lives is one of many such events happening across the country Saturday, part of the movement launched by survivors of the shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school in February that left 17 dead.
Here's what you need to know about Saturday's event:
1. Who is behind it?
Chattanooga Students Leading Change (CSLC) is a group of students from various schools across Hamilton County that formed after the Parkland shooting. The students, many of whom are from area private or suburban high schools, have been meeting weekly at St. Paul's Episcopal Church and the Kingdom Center with a group of local clergy members and adults, including representatives from Chattanooga Moms for Social Justice and the local group of Moms Demand Action members. One of the five CSLC working groups formed in original meetings was a planning committee for the march.
2. Where and when is it?
The march, which organizers expect will attract more than 2,000 participants, will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday in Coolidge Park at 150 River St., Chattanooga. It is expected to last about two hours. Road closures include one lane of eastbound Frazier Avenue and Walnut Street from the Walnut Street bridge to 7th Street. Fourth Street will remain open, with Chattanooga police officers manning the intersection of 4th Street and Walnut.
3. What will happen at the event?
A short program, including several student speakers, will kick off the event. A choir made up of students from a variety of schools in the area will perform before and during the march. Student activists will present a call to action and steps people can take to lobby for an end to violence, including texting or tweeting their elected representatives. Marchers will begin in Coolidge Park, make their way across the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge to the Hamilton County Courthouse and then back to the park.
4. What's next?
Chattanooga Students Leading Change has several other initiatives underway, including efforts to organize conversations with local and state officials, and members hope to schedule a meeting with U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. Student leaders are also organizing a letter-writing campaign to lobby elected officials to oppose Tennessee HB 2208, which aims to arm teachers in Tennessee schools. At the march on Saturday, premade postcards will be on hand for participants to fill out and send to senators. Students will continue to meet and encourage students from around Hamilton County to join in their efforts in the coming weeks.
For more information on Saturday's event, visit: www.facebook.com/marchforourlivescha.