• Chalkbeat

March for Our Lives

Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Pulse Nightclub, Charleston, Stoneman Douglas. What do all of these places have in common? Schools, nightclubs, churches, all places that have faced tragedy due to gun violence, now flooded with victims and trauma. In each case, ill minded individuals gained access to automatic military weapons, and would go on to commit the deadliest mass shootings in modern American history. The thought that teenager have the ability to buy an automatic military arm in our country is sickening, and even more sickening that there are people who believe that arms meant for military combat should be easily purchased. For years America has experienced an on-going discussion about the second amendment and whether or not it is an outdated law. In wake of the Parkland shooting, gun control has been demanded nationwide by students, parents and any citizen who has experienced or fears the loss of a loved one by gun violence.

On Saturday, March 24, I had the privilege of attending the March for Our Lives, a March held in Washington, DC to end gun violence and demand gun control. I say privilege because despite the 200,000 other individuals in attendance, I felt lucky to be a part of such a historical movement. That morning my friends and I made signs and headed onto the metro to the national mall, or as close as we could get to it. Herds of people gathered to speak on Gun control and their experiences with it. Video montages played on the giant screens as I stood on the tips of my toes to catch a glimpse. Performances by Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Kate Hudson and many more brought crowds to tears. In between performances and videos, gun violence victims and survivors took to stage to discuss their experiences and demand congress to do something.

A boy from Newtown, Connecticut reflected his sister’s death in in the Sandy Hook shooting. His sister was a first grade teacher and he used words like “murdered” and “slaughtered” to emphasize the brutality of his sister’s cause of death. It was extraordinary to see victims and survivors of other mass shootings come together to support and protest with Parkland. From Martin Luther King Jr’s granddaughter’s speech to singing happy birthday to one of the Parkland victims, the highlight of the day was Parkland student Emma Gonzalez’s speech. She kept it simple and stood onstage for 6 minutes and 22 seconds, the exact time shots were being fired in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th. Her few but courageous words left me and much of the crowd speechless.

This day will go down in history. There was something in the air in Washington, DC on March 24th, it was hope. I truly felt that this march was a stepping stone in making a true process and protecting America from future gun violence. I am proud to support gun control and I am proud to have honored the victims of the Parkland shooting. Here at hype we are keeping their families in our thoughts and hope that a senseless tragedy like this one never happens again.