On Saturday March 24, I attended my first protest as 11,000 people flooded the state Capitol lawn marching and protesting in solidarity with other students and young adults, demanding congress to change laws surrounding guns. The March for Our Lives protest for tighter gun control took place on Saturday, March 24, in almost every state across the country. Hundreds of thousands of people marched at their state capitol speaking and standing up for what the believe in: stricter gun control and regulation.
The goals of the march were to not only honor all of the people who are victims of gun violence and more specifically school shootings but to protest the ownership of assault rifles and demand tighter gun control.
I listened to speakers using their voice and platform to inspire the rising generation to “Vote Them Out!” (referencing members of Congress, governors and senators who take money annually from the NRA and do not support laws restricting guns)
I believe all of these goals were met. Everyone who attended the march peacefully walked and yelled chants such as “Not one more!” referring to not one more shooting and listened as speakers spoke about why gun control is imminent in society.
Obviously no laws were going to change that exact day, but standing up for what I believe in alongside thousands of other people protesting was a powerful feeling.
As thousands of us marched up to the lawn of the Capitol building I was struck by how many teenagers were there. I expected a variety of people at the event but the majority of the crowd was teens and young parents with children. I really realized that this epidemic of gun violence especially in the school system is so heavily affecting us. A school shooting can truly happen anywhere, and the gravity of that realization seems to be hitting many students.
With a heavy heart I listened to speaker after speaker express their views on gun violence and how they have been affected. Tyler Suarez, the 19 year old organizer of the march struck me as such an impressive young man and inspired me. He lost his aunt in the Sandy Hook massacre and devoted much of his high school years to work on promoting tighter gun regulations and honoring his aunt.
“Everyone’s going to be standing next to each other from different walks of life, different perspectives, maybe different viewpoints on the same issue,” he said, “but they’re all here because they feel something needs to be done and the changes we’ve been doing aren’t enough.” As I was listening to him speak, his words moved me. He acknowledged that though not everyone will agree on the issue at hand, we all do want a safer country where kids aren’t afraid to go to school or any public place for fear of being shot.
This respectful but intense attitude that Suarez put forth was the embodiment of the march. Everyone was peaceful but demanding of change. We listened quietly while a speaker addressed the audience but cheered and yelled out slogans such as “Never again,” “Not one more,” and “Kids are more important” that urged for gun restrictions and reflection on what is more important, a child’s life or an assault rifle.
While there were thousands of students at the march, there were also many young parents with their children, worried that their children will grow up with a similar or worse level of gun violence in their school. The sight of the kids marching enraged me because it seems like our current administration doesn’t feel moved to change laws even though over 400 people have been shot in school shootings since Sandy Hook. The march was able to host people of all ages, but it was inspiring to see such young fresh faces at the march because the up and coming generation is the one who will be able to “Vote Them Out!”
While the fact that so many people feel like me and want gun laws to change scares me, it also inspires me because it is my generation that gets to vote next. I hope that all the young people like me that are growing up with what seems like a new school shooting every week get out to the voting booth and make change happen because it is in our hands to elect the new officials in office.
I am so proud of everyone that went out to march in their state and protested something meaningful to them. Everyone is capable of generating change, and going to the March For Our lives was an experience I will never forget.
To be surrounded by thousands of empowered people who all want change was a wonderful feeling. I’m so glad I was able to peacefully share my views and hear stories from so many people who know firsthand what it’s like to be affected by gun violence.
Though the march is over, myself and others are not slowing down when it comes to demanding gun control and spreading awareness on this issue.
The march inspired me to continue learning about this devastating issue that only America seems to struggle with so much and to text and write letters to our state legislators and senators. Though I am not old enough to vote yet, I still have a voice, and I will continue to speak out about gun control and advocate for those affected and work hard to make sure this never happens again! The march is over but everyone can continue to make change.