Hunter Pollack, whose sister, Meadow, was killed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, prepared a speech for the March for Our Lives about securing schools.
On Saturday, various survivors and families of gun violence victims shared their stories and desire for change, but Hunter, who attended the march, said organizers turned down his request to speak.
“I guess he’s got a different agenda than their agenda,” his father, Andrew Pollack, said in a video posted on Facebook.
Student organizer Ryan Deitsch denied Hunter’s claim and told WPLG he was scheduled to speak but “he never showed up.”
“We openly invited a lot of people, and some people just turned it down,” he added.
Hunter said he still went to the march to support his sister and “see history,” and he shared some of what he planned to say if he had been able to take the stage.
His sister was a wonderful person with a wonderful life ahead of her, but he explained that the failures of the school, community, society, and nation mean she “is no longer part of this equation we call life.”
“She is gone because our schools are not safe,” he said. “She is dead because the madness of one young man — and his determination to kill — was greater than our desire to stop him.”
He called for students and schools to be protected the same way people at NFL stadiums, airports, and jewelry stores are protected. Hunter declared:
“We, the students of America, are the most valuable assets this nation has. Therefore, we hereby put all the leaders and parents of this country on notice. Today, we want you to put a value on our lives — and to protect us above all and everything else.”
Since the Valentine’s Day massacre in Parkland, Florida, the Pollack family has become a voice for the necessity of prioritizing school safety, and Andrew has played a large role in helping enact legislation to achieve that goal.
March for Our Lives rallies took place in various cities around the country, and media outlets have estimated anywhere from 200,000 to 800,000 people participated in the Washington, D.C., event.