Metrofocus: June 9, 2022

After a string of recent mass shootings, including the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, youth activists from March for Our Lives are once again taking action. They will be leading a march in Washington DC, with satellite marches across the Tri-State region and the globe, just as they did in 2018 after the Parkland school shooting. The 2018 march, led and organized by survivors of the Parkland shooting, was one of the largest protests in American history, with over 800,000 in attendance. The leaders are hoping the upcoming march, taking place Saturday, June 11th, will have a similar impact and lead to meaningful gun control legislation. The House on Wednesday passed a sprawling gun reform package called the Protecting Our Kids Act. The bill would raise the minimum age for buying semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21 and ban the sale of large-capacity magazines, but it is doubtful the package will pass the Senate. So what happens next? Joining us to discuss the issue are Jaclyn Corin, Parkland shooting survivor and co-founder of March for Our Lives; and Elena Perez, a Policy Associate at March for Our Lives.

An HBO documentary “Song of Parkland,” chronicles the journey of three drama students and their teacher as they use the arts to heal themselves and their community in the wake of a deadly tragedy. Joining us from the film are: Melody Herzfeld, the drama teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who helped keep 65 students safe during the Parkland, FL school shooting; and producer/director Amy Schatz.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, THE YOUTH MOVEMENT LEADING THE NATIONWIDE FIGHT FOR GUN REFORM.

MEET THE MARCH FOR OUR LIVES ORGANIZERS.

> PLUS, HOW THE PARKLAND STUDENTS TURN THEIR PERSONAL TRAGEDY INTO ACTION.

'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

JUST DAYS AFTER THE 2018 PARKLAND SCHOOL SHOOTING, THE SURVIING SCHOOL STUDENTS TOOK MATTERS INTO THEIR OWN HANDS.

TAKING TO THE STREETS OF WASHINGTON, D.C., THE STUDENT ACTIVISTS LED ONE OF THE LARGEST PROTESTS IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY.

THE MARCH FOR OUR LIVES WAS ATTENDED BY OVER 800,000 PEOPLE WITH MILLIONS MORE MARCHING WITH SOLIDARITY ACROSS THE WORLD.

NOW AFTER A STRING OF TRAGIC MASS SHOOTINGS, INCLUDING AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN VALIYEVA, -- -- TO DEMAND AN END TO GUN VIOLENCE.

THE MARCHES WILL TAKE PLACE THIS SATURDAY, JUNE 11th AND WE'RE JOINED TONIGHT BY TWO OF THE YOUNG LEADERS, JACQUELINE COREN AND -- JACQUELINE IS A SURVIVE AND A COFOUND OVER MARCH FOR OUR LIVES.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

THANK YOU.

ELINA IS A POLICY ASSOCIATE FOR THAT ORGANIZATIONAL THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME AS WELL.

ABSOLUTELY.

JACQUELINE, I WANT TO START WITH YOU.

AS SOMEONE WHO'S LIVED THROUGH A SCHOOL SHOOTING YOURSELF, WHAT WAS IT THAT YOU WERE PROCESSING?

WHAT WERE THE EMOTIONS YOU WERE GOING THROUGH GIVEN THE EVENTS OF THE PAST FEW WEEKS?

YEAH, I MEAN, THE EVENTS OF THE PAST FEW WEEKS HAVE BEEN ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATING.

I MEAN, ESPECIALLY THE SHOOTING AT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN UVALDE, TEXAS.

IT FELT SO MUCH LIKE THE SHOOTING AT MY HIGH SCHOOL IN PARKLAND.

I MEAN, I WAS REALLY REMINISCING ON THAT MOMENT, BECAUSE YOU HAVE A TEENAGE BOY, YOU KNOW, WITH VIOLENT DESIRES GETTING ACCESS TO A WEAPON OF WAR THAT HE SHOULD NOT HAVE AND KILLING INNOCENT CHILDREN IN THE PLACE WHERE THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO FEEL THE SAFEST.

AND YOU HAVE FAMILIES AND FRIENDS GRIEVING THE DEATHS OF THEIR LOVED ONES, THEIR YOUNG LOVED ONES, ASKING, WHY ME?

WHY US?

AND NOW YOU HAVE A WHOLE COUNTRY ABSOLUTELY PETRIFIED, ESPECIALLY PARENTS THAT THEY'RE GOING TO BE NEXT OR THEIR CHILDREN ARE GOING TO BE NEXT.

THE REALITY IS THAT THOSE FEARS ARE JUSTIFIED, BECAUSE GETTING SHOT IS NOW THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY, AND IT'S HAPPENING LITERALLY EVERYWHERE, NOT JUST SCHOOLS.

I MEAN, WE ALSO SAW A FEW WEEKS AGO IN BUFFALO TEN PEOPLE KILL IN THE A GROCERY STORE.

NO ONE IS SAFE FROM THIS ISSUE.

OF COURSE, OF COURSE.

WHEN IT COMES TO PUTTING ON ANOTHER MARCH, ELENA, WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR EXPERIENCE D THIS ONE COME TOGETHER QUICKER GIVEN THE FACT THAT IT SEEMS AS IF NOT MUCH HAS CHANGED SINCE THE 2018 SHOOTING AT PARKLAND?

I WAS NOT INVOLVED WITH THE FIRST MARCH FOR OUR LIVES IN THE SAME WAY.

I ATTENDED BUT I WAS NOT -- SO JACKIE YOU CAN SPEAK MORE ON THAT.

BUT I DEFINITELY THINK, I'M IN THE OFFICE WITH A PART OF MY TEAM RIGHT NOW.

I HAVE SEEN HOW FAST THINGS ARE COMING TOGETHER.

THIS TIME MARCH FOR OUR LIVES IS AN ALREADY PRETTY ESTABLISHED ORGANIZATION, SO, YOU KNOW, WE'RE NOT JUST DOING THE MARCH.

WE HAVE OVER 60 MEETINGS ON CAPITOL HILL RIGHT NOW.

MEETINGS ARE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW WITH MEMBERS FROM BOTH SIDE OF THE AISLES, TRYING TO GET REALLY IMPORTANT LIFE-SAVING LEGISLATION PASSED.

SO IT HAS DEFINITELY BEEN A VERY BUSY FEW WEEKS, AND I'M VERY PROUD TO SAY WE HAVE OVER 400 MARCHES CROSS THE COUNTRY, AND SOME OTHER COUNTRIES AS WELL THAT ARE REALLY DEMANDING A CHANGE.

JACQUELINE, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR TAKE ON THE FACT THAT, AGAIN, THIS MASSIVE MARCH IS HAPPENING?

WE'VE SPOKEN TO, YOU KNOW, OTHER SURVIVING FAMILY MEMBERS, SURVIVORS THEMSELVES, AND ONE OF THE THINGS WE KEEP HEARING IS THAT PHRASES THAT THE ARC OF HISTORY BENDS TOWARD JUSTICE.

DO YOU FEEL AS THOUGH THIS COULD BE A BENDING POINT OR MORE OF A TIPPING POINT?

I REALLY DO.

I FEEL THIS IS DEFINITELY DIFFERENT, ESPECIALLY AFTER THE SHOOTING AT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.

IT HIT PEOPLE IN A UNIQUE WAIT A MINUTE WAY.

IT COMBINED THE EMOTIONS AND SADNESS THAT WAS FELT AFTER SANDY HOOK AND MIXED IT IN WITH THE ANGER AND FRUSTRATIONS PEOPLE FELT AFTER THE SHOOT AT MY HIGH SCHOOL IN PARKLAND AMIDST ALL OF THE MARCHES.

AND I THINK THAT COMBINATION OF EMOTIONS, AND ALSO JUST BEING TIRED OF SEEING SHOOTING AFTER SHOOTING, AND HONESTLY, QUITE FRANKLY, BEING EMBARRASSED, BECAUSE THE ENTIRE WORLD IS LOOKING AT US LIKE WE'RE IDIOTS, REALLY.

BUT I DO THINK THIS MOMENT IS GOING TO CAUSE CHANGE, BECAUSE WE DID SEE IN 2018 THAT THE MARCH WAS EFFECTIVE IN CHANGING SOME THINGS.

WE SAW THE PASSAGE OF 150 GUN SAFETY LAWS IN OUR STATES, INCLUING RAISING THE AGE TO BUY A FIREARM IN FLORIDA, PROHIBITING FIREARMS AT POLLING PLACES IN COLORADO.

AND WE ALSO SAW DOZENS AND DOZENS OF NRA BACKED CANDIDATE BEING VOTED OUT IN 2018 AND 2020 SO.

THIS PROCESS OF CHANGE HAS ALREADY STARTED, BUT I THINK THIS MOMENT SPECIFICALLY AND ESPECIALLY THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS COME NOVEMBER ARE GOING TO BE A HUGE TURNING POINT, OR RATHER BENDING POINT, TOWARDS THE ARC OF JUSTICE FOR SURE.

ELENA, I'M WONDERING IF YOU COULD SHARE WITH US YOUR JOURNEY TO GUN CONTROL ACTIVISM.

WHAT WAS IT THAT GOT YOU INTO THE FIGHT?

YEAH, DEFINITELY.

I STARTED OFF IN MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCACY REALLY YOUNG, AND OBVIOUSLY SUICIDE BY FIREARM IS A HUGE, HUGE ISSUE.

SOMETHING THAT WE SEE IN COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY, AND ESPECIALLY IN RURAL COMMUNITIES THAT DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO, YOU KNOW, HEALTH CARE, REALLY, THE FUNDING, AND BASICALLY WE SEE IT IN SO MANY SCHOOLS, NOT ENOUGH COUNSELORS AND ALL OF THAT.

SO FOR ME IT WAS REALLY JUST SEEING MARCH FOR OUR LIVES, GUN VIOLENCE, HOLISTIC ANGLE.

I HAD SO MANY FAMILY THAT GO THROUGH SO MANY THINGS INVOLVING HEALTH CARE, INVOLVING UNEQUAL ACCESS TO THINGS, NOT HAVING GOOD OPPORTUNITIES IN LIFE AND HOW GUN VIOLENCE PLAYED A ROLE IN THAT, AND MY COMMUNITIES AND FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

SO IT WAS JUST SOMETHING THAT I SAW SO MANY INJUSTICES THAT PLAYED A ROLE IN GUN VIOLENCE AND I WANTED TO COME TO THE TABLE AND JOIN.

WELL, IN ADDITION TO ORGANIZING YET ANOTHER MARCH FOR OUR LIVES, YOU ALSO MENTIONED THAT YOU FEEL LIKE THERE'S A LOT OF MOVEMENT AND THAT THERE'S BILLS THAT ARE BEING PROPOSED, ET CETERA, AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL.

IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN TELL US ABOUT THAT AT LEAST THAT IS GERMINATING AND IN THE WORKS?

YEAH, DEFINITELY.

SO ON THE SENATE SIDE RIGHT NOW YOU PROBABLY HEARD THAT SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY IS IN A LOT OF CONVERSATIONS TRYING TO NEGOTIATE GETTING UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS, VOTING ON GETTING A BILL ON THE TABLE.

SO RIGHT NOW IN THE SENATE THAT'S WHAT WE'RE ADVOCATING FOR, AND YOUR YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE HILL ARE ADVOCATING FOR THAT AND GETTING A VOTE IN THE SENATE.

AND THAT'S SOMETHING 90% OF AMERICANS WANT TO SEE.

SO A HUGE MAJORITY OF THIS COUNTRY IS LOOKING THE PASS UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS ON A NATIONAL LEVEL.

IN THE HOUSE RIGHT NOW WE'RE FOCUSING ON A NEW PACKAGE, WHICH IS CALLED PROTECTING OUR KIDS ACT, PROTECTING OUR KIDS PACKAGE, WHICH CONSISTS OF SOME INCREDIBLE LIFE-SAVING LEGISLATION LIKE ETHANS LAW, CLOSING THE BUMP STOCK LOOPHOLE, RAISING THE AGE ACT AND MORE.

THESE ARE PIECES THAT ARE GOING TO BE VOTED ON PROBABLY NEXT WEEK AND THINGS THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE REALLY NEEDING TO SEE TO KIND OF CONTINUE, YOU KNOW, THE PROGRESS.

OBVIOUSLY EVERYTHING THAT PASSES ON THE STABLES ARE GREAT, INCREDIBLE.

BUT WE REALLY NEED TO SEE THE LEGISLATION BEING PASSED IN THE STATE LEVEL AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL WHERE THERE'S BEEN SO MUCH INACTION.

JACQUELINE, I ALSO WANTED TO ASK YOU, ON A NATIONAL LEVEL, WE'VE SEEN THE PARKLAND KIDS, AS YOU GUYS ARE NOW NOUN, ALTHOUGH I UNDERSTAND YOU'RE YOUNG ADULTS -- TAKE SUCH A LEAD ON THIS ISSUE, AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT AMERICA TENDS TO BE GUILTY OF, PERHAPS, IS AN UNPOLITICALLY INVOLVED YOUTH.

DO YOU THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S CHANGING WITH A GENERATION -- I MEAN, SINCE THE '90s, UNFORTUNATELY, A GENERATION THAT'S NOW GROWN UP WITH SCHOOL SHOOTINGS AND SCHOOL SHOOTING DRILLS, ET CETERA, VIEWING THIS ISSUE IN A DIFFERENT WAY?

I ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE THAT.

THE REALITY IS THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE TERRIFIED TO GO TO SCHOOL, TO WALK ON THE STREETS, TO GO TO THE MOVIES, TO GO TO THE GROCERY STORE.

THIS FEAR PERVADES OUR EVERYDAY LIFE.

IT MAKES SENSE, RIGHT, BECAUSE THIS IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR PEOPLE OR AGE.

SO WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE SCARED.

BUT I DO THINK THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE GETTING INVOLVED ON THIS ISSUE AT UNPRECEDENTED RATES.

IN 2018 WE SAW THE HIGHEST YOUTH VOTER TURNOUT IN A MIDTERM ELECTION AT 36%, AND THEN IN 2020 WE SAW 50% YOUTH VOTER TURNOUT IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

AND SO I DO THINK THAT PERCENTAGE WILL EITHER BE MAINTAINED OR INCREASED COME THIS 2022 MIDTERM ELECTION, BECAUSE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE REALLY STARTING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS AT STAKE HERE.

AND A HUGE PORTION OF GENZ IS NOW OF VOTING AGE, AND WITH THE INCREASE IN POLITICAL ADVOCACY ON SOCIAL MEDIA -- I MEAN WORK SEE CELEBRITIES, WE SEE ALL KINDS OF FOLKS TALKING ABOUT THIS ISSUE NOW, ESPECIALLY ON TIKTOK AND OTHER VIDEO SHARING PLATFORMS.

INFORMATION IS BEING SPREAD AT AN UNPRECEDENTED RATE VIA SOCIAL MEDIA, AND I THINK YOUNG PEOPLE ARE REALLY STARTING TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES IN A WAY THAT'S NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE.

ONE THING I WILL SAY THAT GEN-Z IS ALSO PERHAPS BETTER AT IS AT LEAST ACKNOWLEDGING AND ATTEMPTING TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF MENTAL HEALTH, AND FREQUENTLY WHEN THERE IS A SHOOTING, OF COURSE, THE CONVERSATION AROUND MENTAL HEALTH AND HOW WE ADDRESS THAT AS A NATION COMES UP AGAIN.

SO ELENA, YOU MENTIONED THAT EARLY ON, THAT THAT WAS ONE OF THE THINGS YOU WERE INVOLVED IN AND I'M WONDERING, WHAT ASPECT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT PLAY IN ADDRESSING THE GUN VIOLENCE ISSUE?

I THINK I WOULD LIKE TO START OFF, YOU KNOW, REALLY GOING IN ON THE FACT THAT OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE FOLKS WHO ARE -- FOR MENTAL ILLNESS, BUT THEY DON'T HAVE THIS INSANE AMOUNT OF GUN VIOLENCE WE SEE IN AMERICA, SO I DON'T PARTICULARLY LOVE ADDRESSING GUN VIOLENCE FROM THE MENTAL HEALTH ANGLE.

I THINK IT'S SUPER STIGMATIZING AND CAN BE HARMFUL FOR AMERICANS WHO STRUGG REALLY MENTAL ILLNESS LIKE MYSELF.

WHAT I WILL SAY IS -- WE NEED INCREASED TREATMENT.

WE NEED TO GET OUR COPS OUT OF SCHOOLS AND NEED A COUPLE MORE COUNSELORS IN THEM.

WE NEED FIND COUNSELORS.

LIKE ME, SO MANY PEOPLE WENT TO SCHOOLS WHERE YOU HAD ONE COUNSELOR FOR HOW MANY STUDENTS?

WE NEED MAKE MENTAL HEALTH, TELEHEALTH MORE ACCESSIBLE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T TRADITIONALLY HAVE ACCESS TO THESE THINGS, AND I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT WE TAKE THE STEPS TO ADDRESSING MENTAL HEALTH IN A BROAD LENS, ESPECIALLY FOR CHILDREN WHO, YOU KNOW, FROM THE START DON'T REALLY GET THE BEST PICTURE OF WHAT MENTAL HEALTH IS AND KIND OF THIS BAD IDEA OF WHAT IT IS.

SO EDUCATING KIDS, STARTING IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, YOU EDUCATE THEM ON PHYSICAL HEALTH.

MENTAL HEALTH IS ALSO A HUGE ISSUE HERE.

JACQUELINE, I WANT TO ASK YOU THE SAME QUESTION, BUT I WANT TO CHANGE IT A LITTLE BIT, BECAUSE I WOULD IMAGINE ONGOING MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT, ONCE YOU SURVIVE SOMETHING AS HORRIFIC AS A SCHOOL SHOOTING IS ESSENTIAL, SO CAN YOU SHARE WITH US A LITTLE BIT OF WHAT YOUR JOURNEY HAS BEEN LIKE AND THEN WHAT KIND OF, I GUESS, CONCERNS DO YOU NOW HAVE FOR PARTICULARLY THE YOUNG CHILDREN THAT JUST EXPERIENCED THIS IN UVALDE.

YEAH, AFTER THE SHOOTING AT MY HIGH SCHOOL I WAS UTTERLY DESTROYED, AS WAS EVERYONE IN MY COMMUNITY.

AND IT REALLY TAKES A HUGE TOLL ON YOU.

THE MEDIA FOCUSES ON THE DEVASTATION FOR A FEW DAYS TO A FEW WEEKS AFTER A MASS SHOOTING, AND THEN, YOU KNOW, THE MEDIA TRUCKS LEAVE AND YOU'RE LEFT WITH A COMMUNITY THAT IS SUFFERING.

AND THE REALITY IS THAT MEMBERS OF THE UVALDE COMMUNITY AND BUFF SBLOE ALL COMMUNITIES THAT EXPERIENCE GUN VIOLENCE WILL NOW HAVE TO ENDURE IMMENSE TRAUMA FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

NOT ONLY FROM THE LOSS OF THEIR CLASSMATES AND TEACHERS AND FRIEND BUS THE FEAR THEY'LL EXPERIENCE ABOUT THIS HAPPENING AGAIN.

AND ALSO AN EVENT LIKE THIS WILL FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE THE WAY CHILDREN WILL LEARN IN THE CLASSROOM FOR THE REST OF THEIR ACADEMIC CAREERS.

SO IT AFFECTS SO MANY LAYER OF ONE'S LIFE WHEN THIS HAPPENS.

I STRUGG REALLY PTSD TO THIS DAY.

IT'S BEEN FOUR AND A HALF YEARS SINCE THE SHOOTING IN MY HIGH SCHOOL, AND IT STILL FEELS LIKE IT COULD HAVE HAPPENED YESTERDAY SOME DAYS WHEN I'M FEELING PARTICULARLY EMOTIONAL.

SO THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I WISH THAT, YOU KNOW, FOLKS WHO STRUGGLE WITH GUN VIOLENCE HAVE ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT THE WAY I DO, BUT OFTENTIMES THEY DON'T, WHICH IS AN UNFORTUNATE REALITY.

BECOME TO WHAT ELENA WAS SAYING IT'S IMPERATIVE THAT MENTAL HEALTH ACCESS, SUPPORT IS ACCESSIBLE BY ALL PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY, BECAUSE THE IMPACTS OF GUN VIOLENCE ARE IMMENSE AND LIFE LONG.

WE HAVE ABOUT TWO MINUTES LEFT, BUT I WITH TONIGHT ADDRESS THIS QUESTION TO BOTH OF YOU.

AND THAT IS THAT YOU MENTIONED AFTER PARKLAND, EVEN IN FLORIDA, I BELIEVE THE AGE TO PURCHASE A HIGH-POWERED FIREARM WAS RAISED FROM 18 TO 21.

IN NEW YORK STATE, WE ARE WORKING ON THE SAME THING.

WE'VE ALSO BANNED THE PURCHASE OF PERSONAL BODY ARMOR.

BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE SAID, A STATE IS ONLY AS SAFE AS THE GUN LAWS IN THE STATE NEXT TO IT.

SO DOES LOCAL LEGISLATION REALLY WORK, OR DO WE NEED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO DO SOMETHING?

I LIVE IN NEW JERSEY, ONE OF THE BEST COMMON SENSE GUN LAWS IN THE NATION, WE DO SEE THAT WITH SOME OF THE LOWEST GUN DEATHS IN THE COUNTRY.

BUT WHAT WE ALSO SEE IS OVER 70%, MAY EVEN BE HIGHER NOW, FIREARMS USE IN THE CRIMES COME FROM STATES LIKE PENNSYLVANIA, THIS IRON PIPELINE OF WEAPONS BEING BROUGHT INTO OUR STATE.

SO THIS IS SOMETHING WE'RE REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT.

LIKE I SAID EARLIER, STATE LEGISLATION IS GREAT, AND WE DO SEE AN INCREDIBLE IMPACT.

BUT TO REALLY GET AT WHAT WE WANT, WE NEED THINGS TO PASS ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL.

WE NEED UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS, SAFE STORAGE LAW, WE NEED FUNDING FOR PROGRAMS.

WE NEED ALL OF THIS TO REALLY COME FROM THE FEDERAL LEVEL AND HELP COMMUNITIES AND HELP ALL THESE STATES.

BECAUSE IF WE HAVE A FEW STATES THAT ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE ACTION, IT'S GOING TO IMPACT STATE LIKE NEW JERSEY AND NEW YORK AND ALL THESE OTHER PLACES THAT REALLY WANT TO PROTECT THEIR CITIZENS.

JACQUELINE, WE HAVE ABOUT 30 SECONDS LEFT, BUT I'LL GIVE YOU THE FINAL WORD.

I'LL JUST ADD, GUN TRAFFICKING IS A HUGE PROBLEM DOMESTICALLY, AND I WILL SAY THAT A LOT OF GUNS ARE ACTUALLY TRAFFICKED ACROSS BORDERS.

A LOT OF GUNS CREATED IN THE UNITED STATES ARE FUNNELED TO COUNTRIES LIKE MEXICO.

SO THE U.S. IS TO BLAME FOR NOT ONLY U.S. GUN VIOLENCE, BUT GUN VIOLENCE ABROAD, SO IT'S ESPECIALLY IMPERATIVE BECAUSE THIS IS STARTING TO AFFECT PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD, AND IT'S EMBARRASSING.

OF COURSE.

I WANT TO THANK BOTH OF MY GUESTS, JACQUELINE COREN, A SURVIVOR OF THE PARKLAND SHOOTING AND COFOUNDER OF MARCH FOR OUR LIVES AND ELENA PEREZ, POLICY ASSOCIATE FOR THAT SAME ORGANIZATION.

THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH FOR TAKING TIME TO JOIN US ON 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

> THIS WAS A YEAR AGO THIS MONTH THAT A GUNMAN ENTERED MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL IN PARKLAND, FLORIDA, KILLING 17 PEOPLE.

THREE ON THE STAFF AS COACHES OR TEACHERS AND 14 FOR STUDENTS.

NOW A NEW DOCUMENTARY OFFERS A UNIQUE AND POIGNANT LOOK AT THE AFTERMATH OF THIS TRAGEDY.

HBO'S 'SON OF PARKLAND' FOLLOWS THE LIVES OF THE DRAMA TEACHER AND HER STUDENTS, WHO IN THE DAYS AFTER THE SHOOTING DECIDED TO CONTINUE TO PREPARE FOR THEIR ANNUAL SCHOOL MUSICAL AS A WAY TO BRING HEALING TO THEIR COMMUNITY EVEN AS MANY OF THE SAME STUDENTS WERE THRUST INTO THE NATIONAL LIMELIGHT FOR THEIR ACTIVISM.

HERE'S A LOOK.

911, WHAT IS YOUR EMERGENCY?

YOU WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF REHEARSAL.

IN THE MIDDLE OF A SCENE.

I HEARD SHOTS.

IT WAS LIKE BEING IN A WAR ZONE.

MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS.

AT FIRST EVERYONE WAS TRYING TO PROCESS ALL THIS.

YOU ALWAYS HEAR, THE SHOW MUST GO ON.

WHEN WE CAME BACK TO SCHOOL, WE KNEW WHAT WE NEEDED TO DO.

THIS IS SOMETHING WE NEEDED TO FINISH, ESPECIALLY SOMETHING LIKE THIS FOR KIDS.

THIS IS OUR BEGIN AGAIN.

IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT SHOW YOU'RE DOING, PROBABLY EVER.

JOINING US NOW, MELODY, THE TEACHER FEATURED IN 'SONG OF PARKLAND', AND THE DIRECTOR AMY SCHATZ.

AMY, HOW DID THIS FILM COME TO BE?

I THINK WHAT HAPPENED AT MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL, WE ALL WERE WATCHING.

THE WORLD, THE STATES -- EVERYBODY IN MY WORLD WAS TUNED IN.

AND BEING A PERSON WHO MAKES TELEVISION SHOWS FOR KIDS, FEATURING KIDS, IT WAS VERY INTERESTING TO ME TO SEE KIDS SPEAKING OUT AND TO SEE THOSE KIDS WHO EMERGED FROM THAT TRAGIC EVENT.

AND HBO HAD WONDERED, AND I HAD WONDERED WHETHER OR NOT WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO GO DOWN AND FILM WITH KIDS DOWN THERE TO TELL A STORY THAT WAS NOT ONLY THE STORY THAT HAD BEEN -- WE HAD BEEN SEEING ON THE NEWS, BUT A STORY THAT WAS ABOUT HEALING AND MOVING ON FROM -- OR WORKING THROUGH TRAGEDY.

AND THAT'S WHAT THE ORIGINAL QUESTION WAS -- COULD WE TELL A NEW KIND OF STORY THAT WOULD BE FOR KIDS, BY KIDS?

MELODY, AS WE SAW IN THE CLIP YOU WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF REHEARSALS WHEN THE SHOOTING BEGAN.

YOU TOOK THE KIDS AND HID IN A THEATER CLOSET OR SMALL ROOM FOR THREE HOURS.

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE.

AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW IF I CAN IMAGINE HOW OVERWHELMING THAT WHOLE EXPERIENCE WAS FOR AND YOUR KIDS.

NEVERTHELESS, YOU GUYS DECIDED TO GO ON WITH THE SHOW, TO PUT IT ON ANY WAY.

TALK ABOUT THAT.

WHY DID YOU AND HOW DID YOU MAKE THAT DECISION?

WELL, AFTER THE EVENT, WE HAD A REUNIFICATION DAY AT THE SCHOOL, AND ALL MY STUDENTS I HAD SENT OUT A MASS MESSAGE TO ALL OF THEM TO MEET AT OUR CLASSROOM AT THE END OF THAT REUNIFICATION PERIOD.

WE HAD A FEW HOURS AT THE SCHOOL THAT WE WERE ABLE TO GO AND VISIT THEIR OTHER TEACHERS.

I WANTED THEM TO BE AT OUR SCHOOL IN OUR ROOM TOGETHER IN THE SAME WAY THAT WE WERE THAT DAY.

I LEFT THE ROOM EXACTLY AS IT WAS.

I LEFT EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE, AND I WANTED THEM TO BE ABLE TO COME BACK TO WHERE WE LEFT OFF.

SO I WENT THROUGH THE WHOLE DAY.

EVERYBODY LISTENED, THE KIDS INCLUDED.

ONE OF THE KIDS SAID, YOU SAID IT EXACTLY AS IT HAPPENED.

THE ONLY THING YOU LEFT OUT IS THAT YOU SAID, GIVE ME 30 SECONDS.

LET'S FINISH THIS SCENE, AND SAVED OUR LIVES BECAUSE OF THAT.

AND I SAID, WHAT?

AND I DIDN'T REMEMBER THAT I HAD SAID THAT UNTIL HE BROUGHT THAT UP.

AND IT WAS JUST VERY EMOTIONAL, I THINK, FOR EVERYONE AT THAT POINT JUST THINKING ABOUT IT.

LIKE, IF WE WOULD HAVE EXITED SOONER RIGHT AT THE BELL, LIKE, WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED?

IT WAS A RETELLING OF THAT DAY.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE -- IT'S EASY TO SAY, THE SHOW MUST GO ON.

BUT YOU TOLD ME EARLIER SOME OF THE KIDS LOST FRIENDS.

I MEAN, FOR THE SHOW TO GO ON AFTER THAT?

FOR THAT DAY, WE WERE INVOLVED IN TWO BIG THINGS.

ONE WAS A HUGE STATE COMPETITION THAT WAS COMING UP IN ABOUT A MONTH, AND ONE WAS OUR SHOW.

I ASKED THEM.

I SAID, I DON'T KNOW IF WE COULD, I DON'T KNOW IF I COULD, I DON'T KNOW IF YOU COULD, BUT IF YOU WANT, I'M HERE FOR YOU, AND IF YOU WANT, LET'S -- WE CAN DO THE SHOW.

AND THEY ALL RAISED THEIR HAND AND SAID, YEAH, WE WANT TO DO IT.

I SAID, IF YOU WANT, WE CAN GO TO STATE AND PICK UP WHERE WE LEFT OFF.

AND THEY ALL CHEERED.

THEY WERE SO EXCITED THAT THEY WERE OKAY TO GO BACK TO WHAT THEY HAD.

AMAZING.

AMY, IN THE COURSE OF SHOOTING THIS DOCUMENTARY, WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT THESE KIDS AND THIS TRAGIC EVENT THAT SURPRISED YOU?

WELL, ONE OF THE TAKEAWAYS FOR ME WAS ABOUT WHAT A TEACHER'S JOB IS.

YOU KNOW, YOU'RE EXTRAORDINARY BUT YOU'RE ALSO DOING THE STUFF THE TEACHERS DO, WHICH IS TAKING CARE OF THESE KIDS, KEEPING THEM, YOU KNOW, ENENGAGED, GIVING THEM A SENSE OF NORMALCY, GOING ON WITH THE WORK THAT THEY WERE ENGAGE IN THE BEFORE THE SHOOTING HAPPENED.

I THINK THAT THAT -- WHAT I HEARD FROM THE KIDS IS THAT SENSE OF NORMALCY, THAT SENSE OF GOING ON WITH THE BUSINESS OF DOING THE PRODUCTION WAS -- REALLY HELPED THEM HEAL.

SO THAT TO ME WAS -- GAVE ME A GREATER APPRECIATION OF THE TEACHERS IN OUR WORLD, BUT ESPECIALLY IN THIS DAY AND AGE WHEN KIDS ARE FACING THINGS THAT JEOPARDIZE THEIR SAFETY.

AND IT'S A BIG BURDEN TO PUT ON OUR TEACHERS, BUT, YOU KNOW, IT'S EXTRAORDINARY TO SEE ONE TEACHER INSPIRING HER KIDS.

WELL, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO YOUR KIDS, YOU AND YOUR KIDS WERE INVITED TO THE TONYS, AND YOU PERFORMED SEASONS OF LOVE FROM 'RENT WTS.

HOW WAS IT FOR THE KIDS TO PERFORM IN SOME OF THE GREATEST PERFORMERS IN THE WORLD, FOR EXAMPLE, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, LIVE IN FRONT OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS?

THEY HAVE MORE TROUBLE TALKING TO THEIR PEERS IN FRONT OF A CLASSROOM, WHEN BUT WHEN THEY'RE DOING SOMETHING THEY WERE GROOMED TO DO, IT WAS VERY NATURAL FOR THEM.

THEY LOOKED -- THEY WERE AT EASE.

THEY WERE IN THEIR REALM.

AS SOON AS YOU TURN A LIGHT ON A THEATER STUDENT, THEY COME ALIVE.

WHEN IT'S ONE-ON-ONE, IT'S -- ACTUALLY THEY HAVE A LITTLE MORE TROUBLE WITH THAT.

I CAN UNDERSTAND THAT.

BY THE WAY, AT THAT TONY AWARDS, YOU WERE GIVEN THIS.

IT'S THE EXCELLENT TEACHER EDUCATION AWARD.

IT'S THE EXCELLENCE IN THEATER EDUCATION AWARD, AND IT'S GIVEN BY CARNEGIE MELLON AND THEY HAVE BEEN DOING THIS JUST FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS.

IT'S TO HONOR THEATER EDUCATORS.

AND IT WAS A VERY SPECIAL AWARD.

I FOUND OUT LATER ONE OF MY FIRST STUDENTS AT STONEMAN DOUGLAS NOMINATED ME FOR THIS, SO IT MEANT A LOT.

SHE'S NOW A DRAMA TEACHER.

THE ONE THING THAT COMES THROUGH VERY CLEARLY, I THINK, IS THAT ABOVE ALL, YOU'RE VERY PROUD OF YOUR KIDS AND THEIR ACTIVISM AND TAKING A LEAD IN NATIONAL EVENTS.

BUT WHAT YOU MOST WANT, AND I THINK YOU ACHIEVED, BUT TELL ME IF YOU DID OR NOT -- WAS TO MAKE SURE THEY WERE ABLE THE REMAIN KIDS AND REMAIN -- TO CONTINUE TO HAVE THE INNOCENCE AND HOPE THE KIDS HAVE.

DO THEY HAVE THAT?

WHEN THEY STARTED SPEAK OUT PUBLICLY, THEY WERE DOING WHAT WAS IN THEIR DEEPEST SOUL.

AND IT WAS VERY NATURAL FOR THEM.

AND THE REASON WHY THEY WERE ABLE TO SPEAK SO WELL IS BECAUSE IT'S JUST EMBEDDED IN THEM.

THEY HAD SOMETHING VERY POWERFUL TO SAY.

THEY GAVE YOU CREDIT FOR IT.

I'M JUST A LITTLE PART, AGAIN, BUT THEY SPEAK PASSIONATELY, THEY SPEAK WITH THEIR HEART, AND THAT'S WHAT WE TEACH THEM.

TELL YOUR TRUTH ON THE STAGE, AND WHERE DID WE EVER THINK THEY WOULD HAVE TO TELL THEIR TRUTH IN THEIR LIFE?

USUALLY WE TELL TRUTHS ABOUT THINGS THAT YOU MAKE UP OR RYE AND MAKE IT TRUTHFUL SOME THEY'RE TAKING THEIR TRUTH AND SPEAKING ON A PUBLIC STAGE ABOUT THIS, BUT IT WAS BY NO STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION AN EASY TASK.

BUT IT WAS VERY NATURAL FOR THEM.

THEY'VE REMIND VERY TRUE TO THEMSELVES BECAUSE THEY'RE STILL KIDS, AND THEY SKILL HAVE A.P.

EXAMS AND THEY HAVE LATE HOMEWORKS AND THEY'RE GETTING THEIR DRIVER'S LICENSES AND THEIR BRACES OFF.

THEY'RE REGULAR KIDS.

YEAH.

ALL RIGHT, MELODY, AMY, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

IT'S A MOING DOCUMENT.

I THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

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