April 24, 2018

Thousands Head to Washington to March for Gun Control

Sam Rigante ‘21

On Saturday, March 24, hundreds of thousands of protesters took to Pennsylvania Avenue, facing the Capitol, to rally for gun control, common sense gun laws and stricter background checks in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. The march, organized as the “March for Our Lives,” was accompanied by hundreds of “sister marches” across America in prominent cities such as New York, Philadelphia and Boston.
The march featured over 20 speakers and singers including Parkland survivors, pop stars, teenagers whose lives were affected by gun violence and even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter.
Citizens from all over the country came together to show their support for the survivors of the Parkland shooting and to tell Congress and other legislators they plan on enforcing stricter gun laws in the United States. Pennsylvania Avenue was crowded as protesters turned towards the Capitol, holding signs and chanting “Vote them out!”
Josie Sotter, a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who was present on the day of the shooting, said she believes that together, Americans rallying for the same thing can create change.
The first speaker was Cameron Kasky, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who is a co-founder of the Never Again MSD movement.

“This is a peaceful protest to show our support for what we need and what needs to change,” Sotter said. “Since something happened to my friends, I’m doing something for them.”
Sotter’s poster featured the name of Jaime Guttenberg, a freshman who was killed in Parkland during the shooting.
The march, which started at 12:10 p.m., was opened by a video of newscasts from the day of the Parkland shooting. The crowd booed loudly when President Donald Trump came on the screen, as it featured a clip from a press conference of him offering his thoughts and prayers.
“Look around, we are the change!” Kasky said to a round of applause. “We hereby promise to fix the broken system we’ve been forced into and create a better world for the generations to come. Don’t worry, we’ve got this!”
The march also featured noteworthy pop stars and singers, such as Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt. Platt and Miranda sang their new song “Found/Tonight,” which will give a potion of the proceeds to the March for Our Lives foundation.
Teenagers and adults were not the only ones who took the stage, however. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter, who is nine years old, took the stage to share her thoughts on the issue.
“I have a dream that enough is enough and that this should be a gun free world! Period.” King said, before giving pause for the crowd to cheer. “We are going to be a great generation!”
Michael Ortega, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, told people how to help further the movement.
“Support all the retweets, likes shares,” Ortega said. “And then anyone that’s above 18, if they can, vote. Any campaigning anyone here can do, protesting, that alone is really really helpful.”
David Hogg, one of the prominent student leaders and another co-founder of the Never Again MSD movement, also took to the stage at the march.
“Change is here,” he proclaimed to the crowd. “The sun shines on a new day and the day is ours. Inaction is no longer safe and to that we say, no more.”
The last speaker to take the stage was Emma Gonzalez, an outspoken critic of the NRA and another notable student leader after the Parkland massacre. Gonzalez, after listing the names of all the victims, held a silence for four minutes, which she announced was the time it had taken for gunman Nikolas Cruz to kill the 17 teachers and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Gonzalez’s final words to a teary-eyed crow rang throughout Washington. The speech, which was published throughout social media, ended with Gonzalez advocating for more protests.

“Fight for your lives,” she said, “before it’s someone else’s job.”

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