Millions of people all over the world participated in the March For Our Lives rally, a protest advocating for stricter gun control laws. According to the initiatives mission statement, “March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar. In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March For Our Lives believes the time is now”.
Luckily I was able to attend the March For Our Lives rally in San Francisco, California. The protest began in the Civic Center Plaza in front of city hall and ended at the Embarcadero. Thousands of people gathered to call for change against gun violence, which has gotten extremely out of control.
Speakers at the rally included Jennifer Newsom, wife of the Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom and former mayors of San Francisco Diane Feinstein and London Breed. In addition, many children and adults gave testimonials about their experiences with gun violence. One student shared how she had to protect both her younger sisters when they were walking home and a shoot out broke out when they were half a block away. She was only 13 years old at the time of the incident.
Another speaker that resonated with me was a young lady who survived the Columbine shooting. The speaker revealed that this protest was her first time speaking about the incident in 19 years. She expressed how when Columbine happened it was more like a one off, because mass shootings didn’t happen all the time. At the time it was so rare that it seemed like laws would be passed to ensure this never happened again, but that clearly didn’t happen. Now that mass shootings are so common, she feels the need to share her story and help advocate for change. I respect this woman so much for speaking up after 19 years.
Another speaker was Leo Mercer, founder of the Mercer Brotherhood, who’s mission is to promote and provide artistic and educational movements to under served youth and others through hip hop music and culture. The organization's goal is to create a generation of youth who are strong willed, socially aware and committed to having a positive impact on their communities. Mercer referenced Stephon Clark, Oscar Grant and friends he has lost due to gun violence and made numerous suggestions for change. He gave protesters a motivational speech and concluded with a rap about oppression.
As protesters marched they shouted chants such as “Hey, hey NRA, how many kids did you kill today?” and “Tell me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like.” It was the most passionate march I have ever witnessed.
Overall the March For Our Lives Rally was a success. People of all ages and walks of life came out and showed their concern for the lives of our children. This march was just the beginning and even though change won’t happen overnight, I look forward to seeing aresolution to gun violence. Kids should not be afraid to go to school… or a concert… or to church. Period. Point. Blank.
Michaela P. Shelton is Managing Editor of CSUITEMUSIC.com
Read more from Michaela at Darealmichaela1.com