Parkland School Shooting Survivors David and Lauren Hogg Write in Book: 'When It Happened to Us, We Woke Up'
For months, 18-year-old David Hogg has helped spearhead the March for Our Lives movement, leading an unprecedented push for gun violence prevention after the deaths of 14 schoolmates and three staff members in the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Simultaneously, Hogg’s sister, 15-year-old Lauren Hogg, has been grappling with the loss of four friends killed that day. “It’s something that’s just incomprehensible,” she tells PEOPLE.
Now, the Hogg siblings have partnered on a book, out Tuesday, that tracks their paths up to that moment of horrific tragedy — and discusses the resilience they’ve shown by turning their grief into motivation to make a difference.
“When it happened to us, we woke up,” they write in #NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line. “We knew we couldn’t wait until we got out of college and settled into jobs. We had to make the world a better place now. It was literally a matter of life and death.”
After the shooting, student activists helped lobby lawmakers, staged marches in Washington, D.C. and around the country, and coordinated peaceful student walkouts. Last Friday, the two-month March for Our Lives: Road to Change bus tour kicked off in Chicago, with plans to hit at least 75 cities across 20 states with the aim of educating and registering young voters to help elect politicians committed to reducing gun violence.
The Hoggs’ book contains their first-person accounts of the shooting and its aftermath, along with a 10-point strategy for achieving what the anti-gun violence movement calls “common sense” legislation such as stricter background checks on gun buyers.
“In my own way, I wanted it to be a lasting thing that people will remember,” says Lauren. “A book is something that is set in stone. And it’ll be on people’s bookshelves for a long time.”
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Says David: “The previous generation has not failed us. I originally thought that.” But after meeting so many “amazing and incredible adults who have worked to fix this issue,” he concluded, “it’s the complacency of our culture not to elect morally just leaders” that has allowed gun violence to persist.
David graduated high school last month, and with no current plans for college, he has dedicated himself to “getting morally just leaders elected.”
Lauren, who will be a sophomore at Stoneman Douglas next fall, says: “Nobody should have to feel endangered while we’re sitting at our own desks.”
“We show people that we can go through something that’s also horrific but come out stronger,” she says.
“We’re making them recognize that we do have the power as young people,” she adds. “We have the power to inspire change.”
Profits from sales of the 163-page book will go to charities and local community groups, with publisher Random House committing to donate to the nonprofit organization Everytown for Gun Safety.
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