“Now we fight for our lives.”
That is the call to action urged by the March For Our Lives website following a rally that drew hundreds of thousands to Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., this Saturday to protest gun violence. Sister marches took place not only across the country, but around the world—adding up to 846 events globally, with one even held in Antarctica.
No matter the location, the unifying message of these protests was clear: Enough is enough. Many of those who carried signs or spoke at the rally demanded tougher gun-control laws, including banning the sale of assault weapons and closing loopholes on background checks.
A New Class of Leaders
It has taken only 38 days for the surviving students of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, to ignite a nationwide movement toward gun reform.
Many of the school’s students spoke at the main March For Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. Senior Emma Gonzalez asked the crowd to “fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.”
Perhaps the most moving part of Gonzalez’s speech, though, was silence. She allotted herself six minutes and 20 seconds for her speech—the amount of time, she said, that it had taken Nikolas Cruz to kill 17 in Parkland and injure many more.
A surprise appearance was also made by Yolanda Renee King, the 9-year-old granddaughter of the revolutionary Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King—and she has a dream of her own. “I have a dream that enough is enough,” she said. “That this should be a gun-free world. Period.”
The young, determined voices didn’t stop at the stage. Children and teens of all ages showed up with signs in tow. One fourth-grade girl who came with fellow students from Francis Scott Key Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia, held a sign that read: “We may be small but we have a voice!”
Volunteers could also be seen throughout the throngs of crowds calling for people to register to vote. Stickers adorning protestors’ jackets and signs counted down the days until U.S. midterm elections, which will take place in eight months on November 6. The elections are seen as a chance to bring in more members of Congress as well as state and local officials who support gun-control measures.