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Hundreds of Howard County students headed to March For Our Lives Saturday

Hundreds of Howard County students headed to March For Our Lives Saturday
Dulaney High School students in Baltimore County walked out of school in protest of school violence on the one-month anniversary of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)

Nearly 450 Howard County students are expected to travel to this weekend’s March For Our Lives on chartered school buses, a mobilization effort spearheaded by a Centennial High School junior.

“We sold out all 10 buses last night, and we just added one more,” Matt Sorak, the 17-year-old organizer behind the transport, said Friday morning.

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The March For Our Lives, a rally organized by survivors of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., is expected to bring more than 500,000 people to Washington, D.C. on Saturday. In addition to the main rally, 831 “sibling marches” will take place around the globe, including in Baltimore, Annapolis, Silver Spring and Bethesda, according to the event’s website.

Seventeen teenagers and adults died in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The student survivors there immediately began calling for gun control measures, galvanizing protests and activism in schools across the country. Last week, thousands of students walked out of school as part of a national protest against gun violence, including hundreds in Howard County.

Sorak organized Centennial High School’s student walkout, which took place March 14.

“I always thought it was kind of an absurd thing that we weren’t changing anything, but I think this time it just became one too many,” he said. “Even before the Parkland students started speaking out, I was already starting things up. It’s hard for me to really say what it was about this time, but I couldn’t stand not doing anything anymore.”

Sorak’s transport was open to anyone in Howard County, not just students, he said, though there are organizers at each of the county’s 12 high schools spreading information about the caravan.

The buses are chartered through a private company, and the caravan is not sponsored by the Howard County Public School System. Sorak said he opted for school buses because the cost — $16 per person — was cheaper than chartering a coach bus. Roughly 215 people had signed up as of Monday morning, more than doubling by Friday.

Seats are still open on the 11th bus, and financial aid is available for students who can’t afford to pay the $16 fee. To purchase seats, visit rallybus.net/hoco. For more information, contact Matt Sorak at matthewsorak@gmail.com.

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