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Young Activists Rally in Boston Common

By Ike J. Park, Contributing Writer

Dozens of student activists, including some from Harvard, rallied at the Boston Common Friday to call for a stronger coalition among Boston-area activist groups and to voice concerns over the current state of politics.

The rally, titled “Youth Action March—Boston” offered platforms to speakers from organizations like Planned Parenthood and Boston Mobilization, as well as student groups including the Harvard College Democrats. In the remarks, many speakers aimed to promote their upcoming events, recruit new members, and plan joint efforts between the groups present.

Reed T. Shafer-Ray ’18, legislative director of the Harvard College Democrats, spoke about the need for stricter gun control regulations and called for support on the club’s efforts to lobby for such bills.

“The Harvard Dems worked on four bills, three of which are on gun control. The bills were inspired by an incident where a close family friend of mine was able to buy a gun and shoot himself,” Shafer-Ray said. “The family pleaded the stores to not sell him the gun, but legally the store had to sell it to him. This can’t be acceptable to anyone who cares about justice.”

Another speaker, Scott Kall ’20, who co-founded the activist network Millennials in Action, talked about the importance of youth involvement in the political process.

“As a generation, I know we have a long way to go. We can no longer sit quietly on the sidelines. We must take action. So volunteer with an advocacy group. Vote in your local elections,” he said.

The list of speakers also included Nadya T. Okamoto ’20, co-founder of nonprofit start-up PERIOD and candidate for a position on the Cambridge City Council. Okamoto explained how her background prompted a passion for public service.

The event ended with participants calling to leave voicemails to U.S. Representative Thomas J. Cole of Oklahoma, who sits on the House Appropriations and Budget Committees, urging the representative to oppose proposed bills to cut funding for public schools and college tuition loan programs for low-income families.

Matthew T. Summers, one of the organizers of the event, said he was pleased with the turnout to the rally and that he believed the gathering “bridged the divide between people who want to get active and organizations that need people desperately.”

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