Connecticut students headed to Washington D.C. for Saturday’s March for Our Lives say they are inspired by the Florida students calling for gun reform since 17 people were killed in a school shooting last month.
"We just wanted to make sure that as many kids as possible would be able to come and represent Guilford," Brendan O’Callahan, a Guilford High School senior, said.
At 3 a.m. on Saturday, O’Callahan and Tyler Felson will board a bus for the D.C. march with 49 other students from Guilford and nearby shoreline towns.
"We want to send a strong message to our lawmakers that the movement for stronger gun control extends beyond South Florida," Felson said.
Felson went to summer camp with Cameron Kasky, one of the Parkland students leading the Never Again movement.
"Before this happened I’ve had conversations with my friends where I’m just like the thought’s crossed your mind before it could happen to you right and everyone has had that thought at some point," Felson told NBC Connecticut. "That’s the sad reality about the world we live in today, you don’t feel safe in school."
These high school seniors said after marching, they want to continue fighting for changes like expanded background checks.
"The NRA isn’t going to let up," Felson said. "We can’t let up either."
The shoreline community of Guilford is still shaken by the Jan. 31 shooting death of 15-year-old Ethan Song that remains under investigation.
"Seeing how someone who had so much life left to live, he was an incredible human being, seeing how one instant that can be gone it really shocks you," Guilford High School senior James Hyman said.
Hyman and Olivia Clarke plan to make their voices heard at the March for Our Lives in their hometown.
"We just need to take steps forward to improve gun regulations," Clarke said.
Local march organizer Kathryn Westgard said she is in awe of the students taking a stand against gun violence.
"They give us courage, they give us purity," she said. "They know when something’s just not right and they’re not afraid to say it."
Senator Chris Murphy is planning to speak at the March for Our Lives in Guilford that begins at 12:30 on the town green. Family members of Ethan Song are also expected to attend, organizers said. They are expecting a crowd of more than 2,000 people from the town and nearby communities.
Some parents who lost children at the Sandy Hook school shooting are joining the students marching in D.C.