March For Our Lives

Near the Trump International Hotel (frame right), two young girls protest at the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Tim Mudd on Unsplash.)

On Saturday, March 24, an estimated 800,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. to demand an end to gun violence during March For Our Lives. Organized by the survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the D.C. march was the largest of more than 800 around the world and crowded with people from across the country. Perhaps the loudest voice of all came in the form of the deafening moments of silence led by Emma Gonzalez during incredible speech, which highlighted the amount of time during which the Parkland shooter took 17 lives and injured 14 more.

We were at the march and talked to just a few of the many protesting to ask why it was so important to them to be there.

Mike Webster 

New York City

March For Our Lives: Mike Webster

Make It Better: Why are you here today?

Webster: I’m here because I think it’s important for us to use some common sense constraints on who has guns and when and what sorts of guns they have. I’m actually pro-hunting, I’m not actually anti-gun, but I’m all in favor of reasonable controls so people are safe.

Are you planning on contacting your representatives about stricter gun legislation?

I’ve already been sending some letters in. I’m up in central New York, so my legislators are Tom Reed and those folks. They don’t vote the same way I would. 

Delaney Brewer, 9th grade 

New Jersey

March For Our Lives: Delaney Brewer

Make It Better: Why are you here today?

Brewer: So my school doesn’t get shot up. It shouldn’t be scary or anything, but it kind of is at this point.

What further action are you going to take since you can’t vote yet?

I kind of understand [why I can’t vote yet] but still, I have a voice and I have an opinion. My school had a walkout and we had protests. I’m going to keep protesting if there’s anything else I can do. 

Alexandra, 5th grade 

Virginia

March For Our Lives: Alexandra

Make It Better: Why are you here today?

Alexandra: I’m here because of all the guns and all the shootings that have been happening and all the innocent lives who have been destroyed. Sometimes I worry about something bad happening at my school.

Are you going to vote when you grow up?

Yes!

How do you think kids can make their voices heard?

Protests like these. My school had a walkout but I don’t know if anybody went.

Ariel Scarpa

New Jersey

March For Our Lives: Ariel Scarpa

Make It Better: Why are you here today?

Scarpa: I wanted to stand and support everybody who has organized this whole movement. I felt like it was important for me to be here with my children, even though they’re young, one of my children is in school and I talk to him openly about the possibilities of what could happen in school and it’s sad but it’s important for him to understand realistically what’s going on.

Do you worry about your kids in school?

Of course, every day that I drop them off I worry, every time I hear sirens, I think, “Are they going to the school?” It’s no way to live, but when you have kids in school and kids are dying in school at the rates they are, it’s something that’s on your mind. When I was in high school I never thought about something like that happening and that was only 10 years ago. And now it’s ONLY what you think about when you think about this kind of thing.

How are you going to make an impact after this protest?

I did register to vote, so I will be voting. I’m ashamed to say this is my first time voting and I’m 26. I never felt like my voice would be heard but I feel like rallying behind all these thousands of people has really pushed me to stand behind what I believe in and vote for someone else who believes in it as well. 

Reverend Susan Walker

Virginia 

March For Our Lives: Reverend Susan Walker

Make It Better: Why are you here today?

Walker: I’m here today because I couldn’t not be here today. My children have children, I’m a grandmother, and I have friends who are teachers and who work with children in schools. My son is a teacher in a university. Everyone is worried about their safety and it’s a national health issue. And I’m here today to support good health and healing and everybody coming together as one and expressing our one view that we’ve had enough.

What can you do aside from this march?

Keep the faith, stay hopeful, don’t get down, don’t get depressed, and rally people. We preach, I preach, we’re a very social-justice oriented congregation. St. Stephen and the Incarnation, we have a history of social justice and fighting the oppression.

Any last thoughts?

Keep the faith.

 

If you haven’t yet joined the fight for better gun control in your community, our guide to how to help is a good place to start. For more inspiration, check out the amazing ways Bay Area students are doing their part. And if you’re struggling with how to talk to your own children about mass shootings and gun violence, here are some helpful tips from the experts.

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Jessica Suss is a native Chicagoan residing in Washington, D.C. She is currently getting her master’s degree in secondary English education at the University of Maryland. She enjoys petting other people’s dogs and is faithful to Lou Malnati’s alone. Jessica is also a supporter of MAZON and No Kid Hungry