CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - Several Marjory Stoneman Douglas students participated in a protest at a Coral Springs Publix by drawing chalk outlines in the parking lot and lying down for exactly 12 minutes inside the store.
One of the most outspoken Marjory Stoneman Douglas students, David Hogg, called for a “die-in” protest at Publix supermarkets
On Tuesday, Hogg called for a boycott of Publix due to them donating to gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, who has an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association.
Publix reportedly donated nearly $700,000 to his campaign.
“I think we need to elect people that are not supported by the NRA, that are for child safety and are for sensible gun legislation,” Hogg said, “that allows people to practice their Second Amendment rights but also prevents people like the shooter at my school from being able to get a gun.”
Students could be seen lying down in various positions by the produce aisle while each holding a sunflower, as Hogg lied among them speaking through a megaphone about the NRA, at 4 p.m.
The sunflowers represented the flowers Joaquin Oliver bought for his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day at the Coral Springs Publix.
They lay on the floor for 12 minutes, representing the number of mass shootings that took place since the Pulse nightclub massacre.
“I’m not here fighting for anything, except for those kids,” Hogg told 7News, “and that’s why we’re here.”
The students moved inside the store after it began to rain.
“I think we can all agree here that we want to save the children,” said Hogg.
Hogg first went to the Publix Friday morning, where protesters drew chalk outlines on the ground, along with the statement “WHERE SHOOTING IS A PLEASURE.”
Those outlines represented the students and school staff members shot to death at Stonemen Douglas on Feb. 14.
“We’re going to have to redraw them so that they’re remembered, and that’s what we’re going to continue doing until we no longer have to redraw them because these things no longer happen,” Hogg said.
Publix said the reason the company is supporting Putnam is because of his pro-business stance. They said they want someone who wants to promote the economy in Florida.
The company also said it will review its policies for donating to political candidates. They issued a statement Friday afternoon that read as follows:
“At Publix, we respect the students and members of the community who have chosen to express their voices on these issues. We regret that our contributions have led to a divide in our community. We did not intend to put our associates and the customers they serve in the middle of a political debate. At the same time, we remain committed to maintaining a welcoming shopping environment for our customers.
We would never knowingly disappoint our customers or the communities we serve. As a result, we decided earlier this week to suspend corporate-funded political contributions as we reevaluate our giving processes.”
Upon learning about Publix’s statement, Hogg said, “Then it’s called off. If they donate to an NRA supported politician again, we’re immediately coming back here the same day.”
Residents and pedestrians came out to see the protest, which drew some obscene gestures and jeers.
One man seemingly pointed his middle finger at Hogg, and a group at one point chanted the president’s name.
However, resident Tim Martin went to the protest out of curiosity. “I came with an open mind, not knowing all the facts, and seeing how things get twisted, I had to come down for myself,” he said. “I had to say, ‘Hey, look, I support this, you support that, but tell me why you support that.’ I’m here. I wanna hear why.”
Over in Miramar, a gun violence forum was held, Friday evening. Students in Miramar used arts, dance and poetry to combat violence.
“They’re actually going out peacefully as creative beings to be able to effectuate change,” said Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam.
One audience member said it’s time there was a change. “The students are standing up this time, taking things into their own hands, and I like that,” he said.
In the end, their point was made.
“I can keep on doing this for the rest of my life,” said Joaquin’s father, Manuel Oliver. “I want everyone to understand that. I don’t have anything more important than what I just did. I have all the time to still be Joaquin’s dad.”
The organizers of the protest said they want to see the money that Publix donated to candidates like Putnam be donated instead to a fund for victims of the Parkland high school.
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