The young activists who survived the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida and have since worked to curb gun violence will publish a book in October reflecting on that horrific day but pointing towards a brighter future, PEOPLE learns.
The students behind The March for Our Lives — the movement that organized the eponymous gun violence prevention marches in March — will release Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement on Oct. 16. The book is a compilation of survivors’ first-person essays and oral histories that also highlights policy initiatives they support.
“I hope the people reading it can overcome the helplessness that we felt,” survivor Cameron Kasky, 17, tells PEOPLE. “[The March For Our Lives] was a response to the fact that we felt helpless and destroyed. The only thing that we could do was make something that would help make the world a better place — it was a lifeline.”
Proceeds from the book will go to the March For Our Lives Foundation.
On Feb. 14, 2018, a former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people.
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Following the shooting, says Kasky, “The worse feeling that I felt… was helplessness. [It was] as if I had no options, I had nowhere to run and I was going to be in pain and suffering for the rest of my life… I knew the only way I would come back was to jump into action… [We needed to] remind everybody that this horrible issue in our country will not be solved by shrugging it off.”
Thus began the activism of students like Kasky, Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg.
The urgency of their message has been brought into relief by other school shootings since then. Closer to home, gun violence touched the Parkland community on July 20 when Ayub Ali, the father of two Parkland student survivors, was fatally shot during a robbery at his convenience store.
Currently, the founders of The March for Our Lives are working on the Road to Change tour, a multi-state bus tour encouraging young people to vote with the goal of reducing gun violence.
“As long as people continue to demand what we need from our government, someday, as long as we continue to move forward… even if it takes until the kids who are in high school now are running for office… we’ll be able to [have new gun laws passed],” says Kasky, who adds, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Kasky adds, “Youth involvement in politics is incredibly important because… we’re walking into the future, we’re inheriting the world. All we want is it to be a better place.”