U.S. rally organizers vow no letup in gun control campaign
- Author: Angelo Rivera Mar 26, 2018,
Mar 26, 2018, 1:05
The "March for Our Lives" events on Saturday drew massive crowds in cities across the country, marking the largest youth-led protests since the Vietnam War era.
March organizers also collected signatures for a "March For Our Lives" petition in support of stricter gun laws.
"I am so proud of everyone for being here today, but I'm so heartbroken that it took so many tragedies, so many lives lost to say enough is enough and never again", Zisk said to the crowd.
The events were organized or inspired by some student survivors of the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.
"So the fact that this movement has so many people realizing that it's important to get out to the polls is what I think is one of the best things that we've accomplished", Kasky said on "Fox News Sunday".
Gun violence was also fresh for some in the Washington crowd: Ayanne Johnson of Great Mills High in Maryland held a sign declaring, "I March for Jaelynn", honoring Jaelynn Willey, who died Thursday two days after being shot by a classmate at the school. Rights have been here long before any of these people got here. "Stand with us or beware, the voters are coming", Cameron Kasky, a 17-year-old junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, told the crowd.
Gareth Rhodes, a candidate for Democratic nomination to run for the 19th District congressional seat, said young people are leading the fight and some are not going anywhere until change happens. "Because this - this - is not cutting it", he said, pointing at the white-domed Capitol behind the stage.
They demonstrated on the streets of New York and cities like Boston, New York, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Oakland, California.
One of the most powerful speeches at the March for Our Lives gun control rally in Washington, D.C. was given by 11-year-old Naomi Wadler, who said she was there to represent other African-American women whose experiences with gun violence are often not covered by the media. "I'm not advocating doing away with guns completely, but there should be no military-style weapons in the hands of the public".
"I used to do ER work in Los Angeles and Atlanta and saw pediatric gun violence on a daily basis", Auerbach said.
"You can't regulate evil".
Haleakala Waldorf senior Gita Tucker told the crowd that she believes young people for the first time have a voice in the debate over gun laws.
I've never seen so many young people join together in a movement like this, and I can honestly say I've never been more proud to be a part of this generation. His school had a lockdown exercise last week.
About 75 percent of adults say they want armed security guards in school, with some 53 percent in favor of publicly funding gun classes for teachers and school personnel and 45 percent saying school staff should be encouraged to carry a weapon.
A key focus of Saturday's march on Washington, which was duplicated in 800 cities across the country and around the world, was an effort to turn emotion into political activism by registering participants to vote. Singers Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande, as well as "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, among those performing in Washington. They said they will not have firearms with them during the rally.
However, despite one the groundswell of popular support for gun reform inspired by the Parkland survivors, substantive gun reform may yet be far off. They are simply fed up with government inaction and the power of the "gun lobby", e.g., NRA (National Rifles Association) to curb gun violence.
The U.S. football team the New England Patriots loaned its plane to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and their families to travel to Washington.
"I represent the African American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, lovely girls that fill a potential", Wadler said.
"Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the president's", said Walters, noting that on Friday the Justice Department proposed rule changes that would effectively ban "bump stock" devices that let semi-automatic weapons fire like a machine gun.