Shepard carried a sign during the march that read, “Actually, guns do kill”.
In response to nationwide calls for students to walk out of school to protest gun violence, the hashtag #WalkUpNotOut began circulating on social media.
Their emotions were high and their passion, palpable.
The turnout by hundreds of thousands of marchers across America was impressive by any measure, but one would be wrong to expect the NRA to cede an inch of political territory without a fight.
Nashville area students were joined by community members downtown for Nashville’s “March for Our Lives” on Saturday March 24. I listened to intelligent, well spoken mostly young girls state their case for safe schools and a safe society.
“I’ve been happy to see that there are so many people who care”, said Carrie Mannino ’20, a News editor, who attended the march in Pittsburgh and also organized the vigil on campus honoring gun violence victims. “I worry about the safety of my students, but I have a lot of passionate students who are down in Washington today”.
“This day in age, we do have law-abiding citizens who possess these guns, we’re not addressing those folks – those avid hunters – we’re trying to get the guns off the street from those who mean harm for mankind”, Williams said.
“This is a step in the right direction”, Parmar said. “It can be very frustrating, but we have to keep going”.
Some critics suggested that Never Again has attracted so much attention because of the race and economic background of its founders, who are students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland. The mass killings in a suburban Florida school got the headlines, deservedly, but when gun violence happens in Philadelphia, the broadcasters say, “A black teen in Philly dies, and now, here’s the weather, ‘” she said. One of them was Brianna Richardson, who came from Newtown, Conn., the site of the deadliest public school shooting in America.
“My name is Norah Rami”. She learned to shoot, but because of Washington’s strict gun laws, she was not allowed to own her own weapon. “But if we are dead, how can we make change?” she asked the crowd who responded with cheers. O’Shea and Fanous, along with several speakers at the event, highlighted the prevalence of gun violence specifically in Chicago.
Two North Oconee High School students, Whit Lill and Piper Cyterski, spoke at the local rally. “Even in our hometown, with each passing high school bomb threat, the process became more and more mundane to us”, she said.
Like Montgomery, the Hilyards have been personally affected by gun violence. “I don’t have the money to send my child to private school or home school him”. Those students were just like me. Rachel Patris, 18, said the conversation about gun reform often stops too soon after a tragedy. Rather than asking, “What guns should we ban?” There is not even agreement on what should be basic facts, such as the number of times a law-abiding gun owner uses a firearm to defend himself or someone else.
Chyann McQueen, a longtime activist with Global-Majority Youth Rising and a student at Community Christian Alternative Academy, said the issue of gun violence has to do with poverty in minority communities. If a student notices a classmate struggling and genuinely tries to help, that is incredible, but that does not mean that same student can not speak out against the leaders of their community allowing them and their peers to be murdered.
“People are dying whether Parkland or Sugar Land”. We also know that we stand in the shadow of the Capitol. We are here to amplify your voices.
“It’s so great seeing not only us, but 800 towns and cities coming together in solidarity”.
A 71-year-old retired doctor recalled that in the summer of 1968 he was the age of numerous students on the lawn. “We didn’t get here overnight. Bone turns to dust”, said Linda Kozic. “There’s no possible way to practice or do an active shooter drill”.
“I really want to come up with a peaceful solution, not arming teachers”, said Stefanie Pepping.
“Why do teachers have guns?” But they made one thing pretty clear – they aren’t going away.
Sometimes it happens a few times a day.
“At what point do we really want to be discriminating against people with mental disorders?” I can’t go on Twitter without my timeline being filled with the rallying cries of survivors and the hashtag #NeverAgain.