Jaclyn Corin says she’s “just a girl demanding change…a change maker.” Yes, on a global stage as an activist for gun reform with fellow survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day. Nikolas Cruz, 17, armed with a AR-15 semi-automatic rifle gunned own students and educators.
Since the shooting, Corin, 17, has spent nary a day without advocating for change, on Twitter, at rallies and marches, in media appearances, in person at schools across the country, Jaclyn is the #NeverAgain movement. Corin, Cameron Kasky, David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, and Alex Wind are the founders of the student movement borne out of an unfathomable tragedy but a movement that’s more a quake, shaking things up. And she’s “just a girl …”
Here’s what you need to know about Jaclyn ‘Jackie’ Corin:
1. On Feb. 13, Jackie Was a Ballerina, Camp Counselor & Junior Class President
In a piece she penned for Seventeen, Corin described herself as a ballerina, “my life, my love,” for 13 years, and who had danced competitively with MSD shooting victim Jaime Guttenberg, a camp counselor and the MSD junior class president (she’d been the freshman class president, too)
And as class president filled with school pride, she was a bubbly, helpful, school-community-focused teen who, on Feb. 14, had dropped off pink and red Valentine’s Day carnations for students in different classes.
The last class she went in to, she saw her friend Cameron Kasky who had come to the same classroom to pick up his autistic brother, Holden.
Suddenly, the school was under siege. For hours in that classroom they and other kids and educators sat frightened, in lockdown until a police SWAT team crashed through the classroom door with weapons aimed. Jackie told Vanity Fair, that “five hulking men barked orders and pointed assault weapons. It was terrifying.” But her biggest fear was that some of the special needs and autistic students, already fearful, might not understand or respond appropriately to police commands: “If they had made a wrong move, who knows.”
Later, as the afternoon turned into evening and night fell, as the reality of what had occurred was all too real, something changed in Corin.
2. The Following Day, Jackie the Ballerina Became a Student Activist Advocating for Gun Control on the World Stage
In a post to her Instagram page, ‘MAKE IT STOP,’ Corin said, “Please pray for my school …” And went on to ask fellow students from Parkland and beyond to “advocate for gun control, mental health treatment, school safety, and the many more issues our society is going through because of this horrible tragedy.”
In her first ever Twitter post, Corin tweeted out she was a survivor and would fight and asked for people to join her in the fight.
Before the shooting, Corin imagined herself as a nurse. And as she told the New Yorker, she was not even the tiniest bit political despite being in student government. But when she learned that her friend Joaquin Oliver was dead, her grief was so profound, she had to be held calmed and subdued by her parents. As she and countless others mourned as 17 were buried over the next couple of days, she’d already begun her work and her life’s trajectory had changed.
3. Corin Pushed For & Organized the Tallahassee Trip Just Days After the MSD Shooting
‘Columbine’ author and Vanity Fair contributor David Cullen spent days with Corin as she, with the aid of Florida State Sen. Lauren Book and her staff, organized the trip of a hundred of MSD students to Tallahassee just days after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
The MSD student news magazine, the Eagle Eye reported Corin held a meeting where students and parents who were planning to attend the trip to Florida’s state capitol to address gun violence and gun control measures with legislators signed up and received permission slips and media release forms. The recruiter, the organizer was Corin with assistance from Book and her staff. There were myriad logistics to deal with and detailed planning needed. The teenager was up to the task. On Feb. 21, just a week after the mass shooting, with most still grieving, more than 100 students arrived at a supermarket parking lot, hugged their families goodbye and set off in coach buses for the seven hour drive with the media and others in tow.
“I’m so glad so many students participated. I created the trip so that they could raise their voices, and they took advantage of the opportunity,” Corin told the Eagle Eye.
“Once arriving to Tallahassee, MSD students were greeted by the students from multiple schools in the area at Leon High School. They hosted dinner and gave lots of hugs, love and support,” they reported. “Many MSD alumni who currently attend Florida State University came to greet their former classmates who traveled to the city, like 2017 graduate Julia Sherman.”
4. The High School Girl From Florida Who Hopes to Change the World
Less than two weeks after her friends and school mates were slaughtered by an unstable kid armed with a semi-automatic rifle, Corin was busy making plans for the ‘March For Our Lives’ with her compatriots. The ‘What If’ short video was a powerful statement and helped propel the movement and interest in the Washington D.C. march attended by nearly 1 million with sister marches globally.
At the march, Corin urged people to “scream at your congressman. Don’t be scared because they have senator before their name.”
Before and since, Corin has met with civil rights leaders and icons of the movement.
The #NeverAgain movement by these Parkland students has opened doors to all kinds of worlds and with the open doors, a megaphone.
5. The Time Magazine Cover Story ‘100 Most Influential People’ Featured Parkland Activists Including Corin & Was Written by Pres. Barack Obama
In the Time magazine story of the most influential people, Pres. Barack Obama wrote about MSD student gun control activists.
“America’s response to mass shootings has long followed a predictable pattern. We mourn. Offer thoughts and prayers. Speculate about the motives…This time, something different is happening. This time, our children are calling us to account,” Obama wrote.
Obama wrote the student activists “…have the power so often inherent in youth: to see the world anew; to reject the old constraints, outdated conventions and cowardice too often dressed up as wisdom. The power to insist that America can be better… Our history is defined by the youthful push to make America more just, more compassionate, more equal under the law. This generation—of Parkland, of Dreamers, of Black Lives Matter—embraces that duty. If they make their elders uncomfortable, that’s how it should be. Our kids now show us what we’ve told them America is all about, even if we haven’t always believed it ourselves: that our future isn’t written for us, but by us.”
Meanwhile, some worry that the lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, 2018 will somehow be forgotten.
It’s unlikely that Corin, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Katsky, Alex Wind or any of the other countless students and young people rising up will let that happen.