March for Our Lives takes place in response to mass school shootings
By Giovanna Diez, Sasha Jones, and Katya Podkovyroff Lewis
WASHINGTON- A crowd filled with hundreds of thousands of people gathered in front of the capitol building on March 24, 2018 to protest gun violence. The March for Our Lives protest took place about one month after the infamous mass shooting committed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The shooting marked the start of the Never Again MSD movement where students from Douglas High, most under the age of 18, have attracted international media attention and raised the support of millions, including prominent public figures such as Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus, in favor of restricting the sales of guns to ordinary citizens.
Amongst the large crowd gathered at the March for Our Lives, were a variety of people from different backgrounds and cultures, ranging from children and teenagers to adults and former ‘60s protesters. The crowd filled Pennsylvania Avenue with chants and rally cries.
“Sorry for the inconvenience,” read one teenager’s sign at the Washington, D.C. rally, “We’re trying to change the world.” Nearby, a kid proudly waved a neon-orange poster that proclaimed, in big letters, “GPA > NRA.” The call-and-response chant that carried the day, under the direction of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 9-year-old granddaughter, conveyed the same passion: “Spread the word all across the nation, we are going to be a great generation.”
Samia Robb-Kerkner, originally from New Jersey, but currently working as a teacher in Baltimore, attended the march to show support for the students that have been affected by gun violence.
“Kids should be alive, thinking and politically active,” Robb-Kerkner said.
Robb-Kerkner expressed the importance of a teenager-led march by arguing that the future of the government and policies are dependent on the generation that is currently being harmed by guns and weak regulations.
Lyla Gonyea, a student from Athens, Ohio went to the March for Our Lives to show solidarity and encouragement for the young leaders eager to make a change in government policies.
“I think it’s important that kids are marching today because I feel personally that I need to focus on my education more than my safety.”
“I would tell President Trump that we shouldn’t be afraid of gun reform because I know there is so much militarization now and I just feel like it’s really important that we stick by the kids and the generations that are going to make things happen right now,” Gonyea continued.
Puerto Rican native Natalia Gonzalez was also amongst the young adults that wished to enforce the importance of making citizens voice heard.
“Kids are the emotional appeal to this issue, and they are the ones that are going to create change because they are the ones that are dying,” Gonzalez said.
The March for Our Lives saw over 800 sister protests worldwide. Additionally, a week before the event, students nationwide walked out of schools to protest gun violence. At that time, many from schools in the Washington metropolitan area gathered in front of the White House and Capitol for a silent sit-in.
“If little kids asking for help is not affecting you, then you should enroll in a mental illness hospital because you have a problem,” Gonzalez said.