The recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland, Florida, shocked people all round the world. Now a group of Beijing moms have decided to do what they can to make a difference.
“I don’t want to preach against guns or America, or start a debate about politics,” said Kelly Charles, who runs the popular preschool music session Sparkle and Shine. “But when this happened, I thought, ‘this is enough’. There’s a very high possibility I will have to move to America, and I’m scared. It should be safe to go to school; it should not be OK to send your child to school one day, and get a phone call saying, ‘Sorry, your kid’s not coming home.’
“Then I saw the girl [Emma Gonzalez] making a speech, and it really moved something in me. Vanessa Jencks called me, and we were talking, and I said to her I really want to do something.”
Jencks is a former managing editor of beijingkids, and now runs www.chinafamilyblog.com.
“I’m from the US,” she told us, “and I was 11 when Columbine happened, the first mass school shooting. I actually used to be a Republican and I grew up in the South, where the 2nd Amendment gun right is held almost religiously. China and other gunless societies changed my perspective on gun rights and violence. It now boggles my mind that my US countrymen live like this, and I cannot imagine the tough choices parents and teachers must make in wading through this every day. I have the deepest compassion for these student victims and totally support them advocating for their own voices and lives. I am so proud to call them my fellow citizens. It also moves me to tears that Kelly and other non-American expats are willing to support March For Our Lives.”
“All throughout America people are marching on March 24,” Charles said. “The only people who can change this problem are the young people. So I’m going to make a personal donation, and we’re holding a clothing auction and all the money we make will go to March For Our Lives. Also Nadia from Little Eco One has donated one teepee, and will give ten percent of her March income.
“Kathie Kennedy, another Beijing mom, knows one of the parents from the school in Florida, and will make sure the money gets to them,” she continued. “We would really like to find a corporate sponsor to match the money we can donate.”
If you would like to support the campaign, and particularly if you know a local business which might be interested in sponsoring, contact Kelly Charles via WeChat: ilovematisse104.