Parkland survivors stage ‘die in’ protests
Survivors of the Parkland school shooting lay down in “die ins” at two Publix supermarkets Friday to protest the chain’s support for a gubernatorial candidate aligned with the National Rifle Association, as the company announced a suspension of political contributions.
The students from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shouted “USA, not NRA!” and caused brief delays at the checkout as customers navigated carts around them on the floor. Pro-NRA counter-protesters also showed up at one store, and two men almost came to blows before police intervened.
“A lot of people don’t support who Publix is supporting,” said Haylee Shepherd, a 15-year-old sophomore at Stoneman Douglas, who joined 13 fellow protesters on the floor for about 10 minutes at one of the stores. “It’s going to reflect on them as a brand and people shopping there.”
Publix has been criticized by the students for supporting Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, a Republican who has called himself a “proud NRA sellout.” The activists have called for a boycott of the supermarket.
Publix announced earlier this week that it would “reevaluate” its donations amid the outcry. In another statement Friday, company spokeswoman Maria Brous said the chain would halt its contributions for now as it continues that reevaluation.