Welcome to Atlanta. The city that is “too busy to hate.” In this city, the city of the Civil Rights movement, you are more likely to be a victim of gun violence than anywhere else in the State of Georgia. According to the CDC, Georgia was the 4th most deadly among states ranked based on gun deaths. In total, 1,571 lives were lost in 2016 due to firearms. Partner violence, self-harm, criminal activity, and accidental death are all symptoms of the disease, firearms in the US. Gun access in America impacts the lives of everyone in the ATL.
Scottie Gather to Attend March
The following is an unfiltered, honest account of my experience at the March For Our Lives: ATL, a protest and social movement led nationally by students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and locally by Metro Atlanta high school and college students.
On Saturday morning, I was lucky enough to join a group of Scotties to march in downtown Atlanta in solidarity with organizers in Washington, and across the country. As I walked to the MARTA station with my classmates and other members of the Decatur community, I was struck by the enthusiasm shared by the dozens gathered in Decatur Square, equipped with homemade signs. I witnessed elementary school students holding tightly to their older siblings as they boarded the train to the march. I spotted Decatur High School students in groups. I saw elderly women with canes and anti-NRA signs in hand. Together, we were packed like sardines on the MARTA on the way to the march.
We made it to the Center for Civil and Human Rights around 11 a.m. as thousands already stood together ready to stand with Stoneman Douglas High School students, victims of school shootings, and the victims and survivors of gun violence around the U.S. Several survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre were in attendance, and one student addressed the crowd during the series of opening speakers in a powerful plea for change. The tone of every speaker was hopeful but critical. Every speaker from the 15-year-old high school student to Representative John Lewis stressed the importance of recognizing the intersectional importance of ending gun violence. Specifically, they asked the participants to march not only on behalf of the students who lost their lives last month but on behalf of the thousands of Black lives stolen by gun tragedies this year.
Looking across the sea of people, this message held a specific purpose. The crowd, including myself, was comprised of primarily white marchers. Marchers who had the privilege of not working on a Saturday morning, and who had the means to travel to the center of the city. It was important to recognize that we were not only marching for our city’s children and students but also our brothers and sisters who live in constant fear of violence in their communities.
For more information on gun violence in Georgia: