With an estimated crowd of 800,000 to1 Million people alone at the March for Your Lives protest in Washington, DC, millions of Americans took to the streets yesterday from Key West, Florida to Seattle, Washington to show support for stricter gun control laws and the removal of NRA lobbyist influence in our nations capital.
The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have spearheaded what could become one of the largest protests in history,
In the wake of a Valentine’s Day shooting that killed 17, of their fellow classmates the teens pulled all-nighters, scheduled speakers, petitioned city councils, rented stages and walked march routes with police to show Washington politics, especially Republicans that America has had enough.
The event in Washington drew a mix people across the age and race spectrum and also entertainers, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Platt, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and Common. George Clooney, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg attended, along with other celebrities like Cher. A number of industry figures donated to the event, including Clooney, Katzenberg, Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey.
One of the most powerful moments happened when Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who has been one of the leaders of the activist effort that has followed the mass shooting, paused during her speech until six minutes, 20 seconds had elapsed since she started it. That was the length of time it took the shooter to kill 17 victims at the high school. As she said nothing, the crowd stayed silent, save for a brief chant of, “Never again.”
No politicians spoke at the event, and the musicians who appeared largely kept their statements to messages contained within their music.
Instead, the roster of speakers were almost entirely students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School high school and other teenagers who have been impacted by gun violence. They included youth from inner-city schools and neighborhoods where shootings are rampant but get little national media attention.
“I have a dream that enough is enough. And that this should be a gun-free world, period,” said Yolanda Renee King, the granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr., who was killed by an assassin 50 years ago on April 4.
“If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking,” said David Hogg, another Parkland student who helped organize the march.
He added, “We’re going to make this the voting issue. We’re going to take this to every election, to every state, and every city.”
A video during the event showed NRA officials, like Wayne LaPierre and Dana Loesch, as well as Charlton Heston, then the president of the organizations, saying, “From my cold dead hands.” In the crowd the images drew boos and screams from the crowd.
Thw D.C. march ended with Jennifer Hudson singing “The Times They Are a Changin,” Bob Dylan’s standard that was an anthem of the protest era of the 1960’s.