Thousands gather in Los Angeles for March For Our Lives

Protestors demand stricter gun control and action by politicians

Alice Curran

On March 24, I took to the streets with thousands of people, in all 50 states and around the world, to participate in the March For Our Lives protest, a movement organized after 17 students and staff were massacred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The crowd in downtown Los Angeles was filled with thousands of people who have been outraged for years over the continued mass shootings and gun violence Americans face everyday. It was incredibly empowering and inspiring to see so many people, especially teenagers and children, come together with one common goal: to save lives.

“Today will be written in history books that your children will read,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “They will see that you were the generation that said enough is enough and never again. Never again. You said we won’t sit down, we will rise up.”

Since the shooting in Parkland, I, like many others, have experienced a wide range of emotions. For so many years we have been devastated, afraid, anxious and angry about the fact that so many innocent people, especially children are losing their lives to senseless gun violence and yet our government continues to do nothing. Although it is long overdue, anyone can see that because of the initiative of the brave students from Parkland, real action is finally being taken.

“We have to continue building teams and continue moving forward after this march to build a movement,” organizer of the LA March for Our Lives Gavin Pierce said. “We are many people but we have a goal, to make the tragedy at Parkland the last mass shooting the world ever sees.”

In many of the speeches from young activists such as  Yara Shahidi, Willow Smith, Skai Jackson and the Parkland shooting survivors, was a discussion of the importance of voting in upcoming elections. The crowd passionately cheered on speakers as they reminded newly eligible voters that in order to create common sense gun laws, we must show up and vote for politicians who work for the American people, not the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“[This is] a student lead movement understanding that our voices will not be subdued,” Shahidi said. “Understanding that our voices lead to political change, understanding that people, especially the people in our government, have to accept and embrace that we have a right to safety.”

The nationwide March for Our Lives was the first of many steps that we must take to once and for all end the epidemic of gun violence. Gun control has been an ongoing and divisive debate in America that politicians, the media and adults have ignored and disregarded for far too long.

I am grateful to be a part of a generation that is committed to creating a better future and that refuses to let America forget about the many victims of everyday gun violence and mass shootings. As students and children we shouldn’t have to beg our leaders to keep us safe, but since they refuse to, we must vote them out.

“Our adult leaders, most notably in the White House, don’t recognize that this right to bear arms is creating war zones across America and needs to be changed immediately,” Jackson said. “It is time for this generation, my generation, to take a firm stance and demand a change.”