Hundreds of thousands join the March for Our Lives


Reina Makimura

Saturday, March 24, Americans gathered on the streets of New York outfitted with jackets, posters, and chants to end gun violence. The controversial issue is one that many students have taken a special interest in, focusing specifically on gun violence in schools.
After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, student leaders from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School organized protests around the nation. These protests called for an end to gun violence, and asked for common sense gun control. In Washington D.C., where the main march was held, the estimate of protesters ranges from 200,000 to 800,000. The latter number would make it the largest single-day protest in history. In New York, the March for Our Lives gathered 175,000 people, according to a tweet from Bill de Blasio.
In Westfield, some SPFHS students were able to voice their own views on gun control.
“We walked for a little bit, seventeen minutes I think,” junior Kara Schramm said. “Then we stood around and listened to speeches. They were very informative and inspiring.”
Farther away, in New York, where other SPFHS students marched, the event was kicked off with music and speeches. Another protest occurred even closer. One song, Shine, was written by Marjory Stoneman Douglas students, and performed by young Broadway actors.
Each speech came from someone directly correlated with gun violence and its effects. This included survivors of the shootings in Parkland, Las Vegas, and Sandy Hook. Their speeches were emotional and moving, inspiring their crowds into action. As the Parkland survivor cried at the podium, the threat of gun violence and the loss that she had faced became all too real.
In another powerful moment in Washington D.C., Emma Gonzalez stood in silence for the time it took for gunman Nikolas Cruz to kill 17 of her classmates: six and a half minutes. These sobering six minutes provoked conversation amongst the national media and those who experienced it.
The march in Washington garnered over 200,000 protesters demanding change from its representatives. The chant “vote them out” echoed through the endless crowded. Junior Maya Schwartzman along with a couple other SPFHS students attended the march in D.C
“It was a very powerful day, I think it is very important that teenagers are demanding change” Schwartzman said.
The march in D.C had  appearances from Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and a slew of other famous artists who marched in solidarity. The Parkland teens also shared the stage with Martin Luther King Jr. granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, who demanded change just as her grandfather once did.  
“It’s not okay that students fear for their lives when they go to school, and if we can do something to change that we should,” Schramm said.
Gun violence is a nationwide problem, and it is important to recognize that everyone is affected by it. As the march called attention to, black people are disproportionately killed in shootings. Those marching for their lives have to march not only for the victims of school shootings, but for every victim and every future victim.
Children are often ignored in politics, but this march proved that young people do deserve a say. Not only that, but they have one. This march was organized entirely by students, and as many marchers agree, you are never too young to stand up for what you believe is right.