On Saturday, the “March for our lives” rallies took place in several cities of the country. It was an incredibly emotive and powerful student mobilization that called for stricter gun regulations.
This march emerged due to the deadly mass shooting that took place last February 14, in a high school in Parkland, Florida. Hundreds of thousands of people went out to the streets to support this movement.
Washington was the epicenter of the “March for our lives” protests. Students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – where the mass shooting happened – gave speeches and call for urgent action from the government.
“If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking,” said David Hogg, a Stoneman Douglas senior, said in front of 800,000 people in Washington “Inaction is no longer safe. And to that, we say, ‘No more.’ Most representatives have no public stance on guns. To this we say, ‘No more’”, added Hogg who has become one of the most prominent leaders of the movement.
6 minutes and 20 seconds of silence
Emma Gonzalez, one of the survivors of the Parkland attack, took 6 minutes and 20 seconds of silence during her speech. Gonzalez broke the silence to say that was the amount of time that passed while the shooter terrorized her and the other people in her school. A little more than 6 minute was all it took for the gunman to kill 17 of their friends and to forever alter the reality of those who went through the unfortunate episode.
Another memorable moment of the march happened when Naomi Wadler – an 11-year-old elementary school student from Virginia – gave a speech where she said that even though she and her peers were young, they understood what is right and what is wrong.
She said she knows life is not equal for everyone.
She also highlighted that violence against black women has become just numbers, untold stories.
“I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news,” Naomi said. “I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant beautiful girls full of potential.”
She invited people to join her in telling all those stories that remain untold, to honor the lives of women of color that are lost at “disproportionate rates” in America.
Wounded students showed up at the rally
Sam Fuentes was another student who survived the shooting. She was giving a speech in Washington when she became physically ill and threw up in front of everyone. The girl returned to the podium soon after and continued to speak for some other minutes. She joked saying it felt great throwing up on international television.
“The truth is, I am not here for me. I am here for you. So you don’t have to fear getting shot in your own classroom,” Fuentes said, before throwing up.
In the event, the 9-year-old granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr. also gave a speech. The little girl, Yolanda Renee King, spoke for the civil rights, echoed his grandfather’s iconic speech “I have a dream” and called for a gun-free world.
“My grandfather had a dream that his four little children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” Yolanda said. “I have a dream that enough is enough, and that this should be a gun-free world, period.”
Kyle Laman and Ashley Baez, two of the students that were shot in parkland, were in Washington showing support to their peers and the movement, even though they were still recovering from their injuries. Laman was in a wheelchair since he was shot in the foot. Ashley used a cane to walk. She received a bullet in the leg. She said she was terrified to show up since it was a big crowd and it is hard to know what might happen. Kyle said it all was overwhelming.
During the protest, people had signs that addressed their discontent with politicians over the problem with gun regulations. They criticized that while people are affected by gun violence, President Trump spent Saturday golfing at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.
To support the movement, several celebrities were at the “march for our lives.” Among them were Paul McCartney, the cast of NBC show “Parks and Recreation,” Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and George Clooney. McCartney, who was in the rally held in New York, remembered that one of his best friends (Beatle bandmate John Lennon) was also a victim of gun violence. Lennon was killed in that city in the 1980’s.
Source: The Hill