By: Olivia Carrara
Infuriated by recent events and a lack of action by those in power, I, along with nearly 200,000 others, took to the streets of New York City to demand some form of action. I went to this march with nine other family members and friends who all felt compelled to speak on behalf of gun control. The minute we got to the bus stop, it was evident that this march was going to draw an enormous crowd. Walking to the designated location, we were surrounded by thousands of people wearing orange and holding signs with various messages. This march was emotional, this march was powerful, and this march will spark change. This march was also one of over 800 marches that took place in major cities and smaller towns throughout the country and the world. Unlike the women’s march I attended earlier this year, this march did not involve many comedic signs. Instead, young children held signs asking, “Am I next?” and parents held signs that displayed the fear they felt for their children. Emotions were high, especially during the rally portion of the event where many shooting survivors and others shared their experiences, opinions, and demands for the future. Among the speakers was a Parkland survivor who shared her heartbreaking account of the day her classmates and friends were brutally murdered by someone who should have never had access to an AR-15 assault rifle. The crowd was silent throughout the rally as we all reflected on the numerous shootings in recent years and cried in both fear and anger. This march was full of the passionate children and teens who make up Generation Z; we stood together for nearly three hours chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go” along with “No more silence, end gun violence.” The crowd was also full of parents, grandparents, and people who lost loved ones as a result of gun violence. This was a march that was full of people who not only care, but people who want change and will see it through.
Following the march, it became clear to me that many people I know and in the world disagree with the march and what it stood for. Personally, I was confronted twice with people telling me that the march was a waste of time and was pointless because we aren’t doing anything. That statement shocked me in many ways. Nobody said marching was going to immediately solve any issues, nobody claimed that gun control laws would be changed after we all took to the streets with our signs, but it was not “pointless.” It brought people together and it sent a message to people in power that there are a lot of us and we are not ignoring these issues any longer. The march made it clear that even younger generations are demanding change and will not back down until we see it through. The march wasn’t the end of the movement, it was just the start. The people who marched will be the people who vote in the midterms; we will be the people who continue to spread awareness of the issues and encourage people not to forget what has happened in our country as a result of gun violence. It also occured to me that as people shared their differing opinions, some people are unaware of what the march was for. The people marching were in no way demanding that we ban guns altogether. We are not trying to take away the Second Amendment, but we are trying to make it known that amendments can be amended, and that 18th century laws can no longer regulate the weapons of the 21st century. The three main reasons for the march were: to get universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons, and stop the sale of high-capacity magazines. Three simple, yet monumental changes that must be made in our country.
I along with many marched for change because this is an event that could easily happen to any student in the country, including myself. This could easily occur and that is the problem. It should not be easy for a former student or anyone to have access to a firearm. It should not be easy for someone with a gun to enter a school and harm numerous students. It should not be easy for children to lose their lives during a simple day at school. It should be impossible. It should be unheard of that students hesitate to go to school every day. It should not be common that students enter school and find themselves unconsciously wondering if they will be able to return tomorrow. It is time for action because students need to be able to walk into school without the idea of a shooting ever crossing their mind. Our voices exist, our voices matter, and soon enough our voices will be heard. Times are changing and reforms are being made for nearly everything except gun control. So let’s post on all social media, let’s march in all cities, let’s vote, and let’s yell it from every rooftop that we need change, we want progress, and we deserve to feel safe in our schools every single day. We need to use our voices and bring our opinions to the polls because as David Hogg said in Washington, “If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking.” This movement will lead to the end of gun violence, and trust me when I say, the march was only the beginning.
Categories: Arts & Reviews