My Experience at the March For Our Lives in D.C.

Many+signs+were+brought+to+the+march+as+a+way+to+express+opinions.+The+one+above+reads+%E2%80%9CThe+%E2%80%98greatest+country+in+the+world%E2%80%99+forces+its+children+to+beg+for+their+lives.%22
Many signs were brought to the march as a way to express opinions. The one above reads “The ‘greatest country in the world’ forces its children to beg for their lives.

Many signs were brought to the march as a way to express opinions. The one above reads “The ‘greatest country in the world’ forces its children to beg for their lives."

Many signs were brought to the march as a way to express opinions. The one above reads “The ‘greatest country in the world’ forces its children to beg for their lives."

Story by Alexis Gomes, Staff Writer

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The March For Our Lives was a march advocating for gun control organized by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where the recent school shooting occurred. Their student organization, known as Never Again MSD, has advocated for gun control since the February 14th shooting. Rallies were organized in Washington D.C., along with other American cities, with a total estimated turnout of 2 million people nationally. I was lucky enough to attend the march in Washington D.C. on March 24th.

There was absolutely no confusion that the march was occurring. From when I first arrived in downtown D.C. at 8 a.m., protesters wearing March For Our Lives-branded merchandise and carrying fluorescent signs were abundant. Signs were piled in front of the Smithsonian, as they were not allowed inside the museum. One group of students, about 100 or so, stood in front of the Washington Monument holding their signs and smiling for the camera. I even saw a group of four joggers wearing shirts proclaiming “End the NRA” on the back.

I arrived at the march around 10:30 a.m., an hour and a half before the speeches and performances were scheduled to start. Thousands of people were already crowded in the streets, proudly holding up their signs and taking photos. Shirts, pins, and hats were being sold. “End gun violence” and “never again” chants echoed throughout the crowd.

 

Signs ranged from political statements, criticizing the GOP, Donald Trump, and the NRA, to anti-gun sentiment, to being in remembrance of the victims of Parkland and other school shootings. “Am I next?” asked many signs; “the rights of children matter more than the rights of guns” stated others. Teachers expressed anger and distress over the safety of their students in a world where school shootings are increasingly common.

Unfortunately, I was not able to participate as much as I would have wished. I was under the impression my mom would not let me attend, so I did not prepare a sign. I also had to leave early, meaning I missed many of the key speeches that have been celebrated by the media. However, I am so grateful that I could attend the march. Gun control is a cause I am personally passionate about, and activism has always been something I have admired from the sidelines.

Being one of 800 thousand in D.C. does not immediately sound impressive. Being one of the millions around the world that attended their own local marches sounds even smaller. It is easy to conclude that my attendance did not matter. However, in today’s world where young people are becoming less encouraged to vote or otherwise be politically involved, it is key to realize the importance of the individual as part of the whole.

We are currently living in a world of political turmoil. Now, more so than ever, the country is becoming increasingly divided. Social media ignites argument between the two sides and allows anonymity in expressing dissenting opinions, that can be offensive as easily as genuinely harmful. At a time like this, for those passionate about social change, it is easy to feel defeated — by the government, by legislation, by those who try to discourage the cause. The March For Our Lives, both in D.C. and around the world, shows that conversation needs to be had, and that the government must step up and represent its’ constituents. As many signs noted, “the power of the people is greater than the people in power.”

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