Parkland Students Instigate Worldwide Protest Against Gun Violence

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March for our lives in Washington DC (Photo Credit: Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

On Saturday, March 24, people across the US and worldwide — from London to Paris to Mauritius to Mumbai — took to the streets to protest for stricter gun laws. The mass demonstrations, which took place under the banner “March For Our Lives,” were instigated by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students to ensure no more innocent lives would be lost to gun violence, like the shooting experienced at the school on February 14.

One of the biggest rallies was in Washington DC, where the Parkland, Florida students and families, were joined by an estimated 800,000 people including celebrities like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and Jennifer Hudson who lost her mother, brother, and nephew in a 2008 shooting. Over the course of the day, youngsters who had experienced gun violence firsthand delivered poignant and articulated messages to the large crowd.

Protestors in Washington DC (Photo Credit: Jarek Tuszyński (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Parkland student Emma Gonzalez, one of the key organizers of the student-led-protests, began with a touching speech in which she listed the 17 people who had been killed at her school. The 17-year-old then fell silent for a few minutes until an alarm beeped. She noted the time – six minutes and 20 seconds. Then, with tears pouring down her face, stated: "Since the time I came out here, it has been 6 minutes 20 seconds, and the shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape, and walk free an hour before arrest.” She urged the solemn crowd to “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else's job."

Yolanda Reese King, the granddaughter of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., followed in her grandfather’s footsteps by voicing her dream. The nine-year-old told the attentive audience, "I have a dream that enough is enough. That this should be a gun-free world - period.”

Demonstrators march down Central Park South in New York City (Photo Credit: Rosa Pineda (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Also present were survivors and family from Sandy Hook Elementary School, which underwent a similar tragedy in 2012, resulting in 27 deaths. Mathew Soto, who lost his sister in the shooting, spoke eloquently, saying, "America, I am pleading with you to realize this is not OK.” He urged US officials to "Show those that say our lives are not more important than a gun, that we are important."

In Manhattan, New York, the over 175,000 protestors were joined by former Beatles member Sir Paul McCartney, who lost his friend and bandmate John Lennon to gun violence in 1980. In Spain, six-year-old Lucia Smith marched with her mother to show her support for the US students. Former President Barack Obama also lent his support with a tweet that said, "Michelle and I are so inspired by all the young people who made today's marches happen. Keep at it. You're leading us forward. Nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change."

Crowds at Washington DC March for our Lives (Photo Credit: Rosa Pineda (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons]

While this protest was successful beyond anyone’s imagination, the students are not resting on their laurels. There is already chatter of a similar march on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting that resulted in 13 deaths. As New York mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, “This is a movement that has JUST BEGUN.” The youngsters plan on continuing until US legislators comply with their three demands — ban assault weapons, stop the sale of high-capacity magazines, and implement a law requiring background checks on all gun purchases, regardless of where they are sold.

#Never Again

Resources: CNN.com, BBC.co.uk, news.yahoo.com

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283 Comments
  • meatlover
    meatloverSunday, June 16, 2019 at 7:14 am
    wow just wow
    • meatlover
      meatloverSunday, June 16, 2019 at 7:13 am
      I agree this has to stop. We can do this America
      • HUHSaturday, March 30, 2019 at 2:27 pm
        I agree this has to stop #NEVER AGAIN
        • IMonday, March 25, 2019 at 7:19 pm
          I think schools should have police or better police.
          • DeckerSunday, March 24, 2019 at 11:23 am
            If they want gun violence be stop why don't they just shut down all gun stores??🤔
            • smartgirl_202
              smartgirl_202Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 5:45 pm
              For some reason, I was thinking that MLK's granddaughter would be OLDER. . .
              • tyThursday, February 7, 2019 at 8:43 am
                I dissagre because what if someone breaks into your home how will u defend your self if u din't have a night als o taking away gus won't make a diffrence there WILL STILL BE CRIME
                • smartgirl_202
                  smartgirl_202Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 5:46 pm
                  Look, you're making this seem a lot harder than it actually is, okay.
                • oscarandme
                  oscarandmeMonday, October 15, 2018 at 9:54 am
                  So sad. Rest in peace, angels.
                  • ariaWednesday, October 10, 2018 at 8:46 am
                    i agree guns are a serious issue in our world and in school that must stop.
                    • miaMonday, September 24, 2018 at 11:53 am
                      hi