NextUp hosting student town hall at CoC on Saturday

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College of the Canyons students are organizing a town hall to speak with local campaigns about gun violence reform April 7 from 6-8 p.m.

The student group NextUp is hosting the event in response to rallies and protests across the United States in support of the national movement March For Our Lives.

The march movement against gun violence was started by survivors of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjorie Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 students.

Member organizer Philip Germain said the goal of the nonpartisan event was to halt the advance of school shootings and invite student speakers from both sides of the aisle.

“One thing we want to stress is it’s student-led,” he said. “I think students aren’t going to go away on this issue. They are truly interested in becoming a part of this process and letting their voices be heard. A lot of people disregard them when it comes to politics and we’re showing that to the contrary, the student voting block is the largest in country, and I think it’s going to be made clear that these representatives are going to be answering for their votes.”

Germain said NextUp invited Congressman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, and Democratic challengers Bryan Caforio, Katie Hill, Jess Phoenix and Mary Pallant, with the latter four accepting the invitations. Knight’s staff said the congressman would be in Washington, D.C. during the town hall in Santa Clarita.

Sebastian Cezares, NextUp’s director of communications, is one of the selected student speakers and considers his selection an honor.

“This is a nonpartisan grassroots approach to getting this generation involved,” he said. “I feel like I get to represent my community and discuss some history that’s been ignored for too long, and I feel the youth have been ignored for too long. I think it’s time for our political process to listen to our concerns.”

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