Parkland students start letter-writing campaign to support New Zealand community after mosque shootings
© Getty Images

Just over a year after the mass shooting at their Parkland, Fla., high school, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are reaching out to support the New Zealand community affected by an attack at two mosques.

CNN reported Wednesday that a number of current Parkland students this week started a letter-writing campaign to comfort residents of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Kai Koerber, a senior at Stoneman Douglas, told CNN that they are also planning to partner with Muslim groups in South Florida to write letters to Christchurch.

“We got letters after our tragedy, that was something that really surprised us," Koerber told the network. “It's something that really warmed the hearts of people in my community. I think it will warm the hearts of people in Christchurch as well."

ADVERTISEMENT

Koerber was one of a group of Stoneman Douglas students who visited Christchurch last summer for a learning and healing trip after the shooting at their school.

During the visit, the Florida students planted trees and met with the Student Volunteer Army, a group of youth activists in Christchurch, to learn tactics for maintaining their March For Our Lives anti-gun violence movement.

Koerber and his peers have reportedly been in contact with the students they met on the trip, at least one of whom knew someone who was killed in the mosque shootings.

In the days since a gunman opened fire and killed 50 people at the mosques, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken swift action on firearms, and announced Wednesday that the country would ban the sale of all assault rifles and semi-automatic guns.

Koerber, however, lamented the slow speed of U.S. lawmakers' actions on gun control.

"The stagnation of the American legislative process and political process is due to the absolute magnitude and size of our country," he said.

Stoneman Douglas junior Emily Wolfman told CNN that she and her classmates have realized how differently American students view gun violence than do students in other countries.

"We went to New Zealand in order to look at a completely different culture," she said. "And, suddenly, that culture is the same thing as ours."