Young activist’s rallying cry

Andrew Goldman speaks with student journalists from the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute , on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, about his upcoming Rally to End Gun Violence on July 29. (Photo by Caroline Ledoux.)

By Chelsea Sibri
The Scholars’ Academy

Andrew Goldman, a recent 18-year-old Syosset High School graduate, is not unfamiliar with the political scene and what it takes to make a social change.

“As Americans, every single person—really everyone around the world—should have the right to voice their opinions, voice their beliefs, whatever they are,” Goldman said. His social activism stems from a gunman’s rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February. The shootings had a profound impact on him, as fellow students at his high school knew people affected by the massacre. He said he felt the need for change.

“After Parkland, that’s when my activism itself started,” said the incoming freshman at the University of Michigan. “When we worked on the walkout memorial at my school. I was able to start working with the March for Our Lives rally” in March, Goldman said. “I felt like it was my responsibility to get something going. A lot of work went into it, making sure that we were going to be able to do this in a safe way. It was an incredible experience, standing up for what we believe in.”

Goldman played a key part in setting up his school’s memorial and walkout. About 2,000 students ended up participating, he said. It was a grand taste of success, but it did not satisfy his appetite. He decided to become more involved and joined a task force working to end gun violence.

“Our goal is really a simple one: to end gun violence. Another one of our main goals is a call to action to ensure that every student across Long Island and across the country mobilizes. Whether that is if you’re old enough to vote, to make sure you go out to vote. If you’re not, have a letter-writing campaign, talk to your friends or parents who can vote, call your congressman, call your senator, to voice your opinion on the issue,” Goldman said. “We just want to empower young people.”

Even before beginning his career in social activism, he had been involved in political internships with different senators and officials and was able to experience Congress itself as a rising senior in 2017. He is currently an intern for U.S. Rep. Thomas Suozzi.

“Last summer I was actually able to work as a Senate page in D.C., which was an amazing experience where I was able to work on the floor of the Senate, right in the midst of the healthcare debate,” Goldman said. “And I really saw how Congress works.”

With all he has accomplished already, Goldman still shares common interests with most teenagers.

“I like to play the ukulele,” he said. “My ukulele’s name is Lola. I like The Beatles, Chance the Rapper.”

As for college, he intends to major in philosophy, politics and economics when he attends the University of Michigan in the fall.

“Overall, in my work experience, I’ve done public service and I think I want to continue that after college,” Goldman said. “What that ends up leading to, I guess time will tell.”

Goldman is helping to organize the End Gun Violence rally at Breezy Park in Huntington set for July 29. He encourages everyone to attend, especially young people.

“The tagline of this event is, #YourVoteYourVoice.’ That feeling when you get to register someone to vote is amazing because you’re given the opportunity to ensure that their voice is heard in the most fundamental way.”

 

Yash Kumar contributed to this report.

Gun reform activists plan rally on July 29

Caroline Suozzi (center) with Sarah Silverstein (right) and Andrew Goldman (left) from Rep. Thomas Suizzui’s office are planning a gun reform rally on July 29th. (Photo by Caroline Ledoux)

By Zoe Gordon
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

On a small Pacific island named Yap, where Rep. Thomas Suozzi’s daughter was educating children, Caroline Suozzi and her students were inspired by the activism they saw in the United States after the shooting in Parkland, Florida. When they read about current events, Caroline Suozzi felt as if the whole world was watching change being made.

“We were told very often about gun violence in the United States,” she said. “They were so inspired that young people were taking action.”

After the Parkland tragedy in February, Suozzi felt a strong connection with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She saw students standing up to politicians, fighting for their right to live.

“The whole world is paying attention,” she said.

While students from Parkland were planning the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., a group of student activists, along with Suozzi and her father, were creating a sister march in Long Island. More than 1,500 people attended the Long Island rally on March 24, and they advocated for gun reform and safety in schools.

“After Parkland, I knew I had to do something,” student activist and recent Syosset High School graduate Andrew Goldman said. “As students, we are turning our thoughts and prayers into action for change. We’re pulling out every stop.”

After the protest, the Long Island activists wanted to continue the momentum, Carolyn Suozzi said.

“They came back and said we want to to keep this conversation going,” she added. “This time it’s a call to action. It’s also to emphasize the importance of registering to vote.”

Caroline Suozzi and Long Island students are planning a rally in Breezy Park, Huntington, on July 29 to coincide with the Road to Change rallies created by March for Our Lives activists. The rally will feature two speakers from the families of student Jaime Guttenberg and teacher and coach, Scott Beigel, who both had Long Island connections and were killed in the Parkland shooting.

The key emphasis of this rally will be to register and motivate young adults to vote. The organizers of the rally are using social media and putting up flyers in every town in Thomas Suozzi’s district, hoping to attract a thousand people.

“The way to bring about change is voting,” said Sarah Silverstein, of the Thomas Suozzi campaign team.