My Experience at the Washington D.C. March For Our Lives

The March For Our Lives took place last Saturday in countries and cities across the globe to protest gun violence in America. The main march, hosted by the students from Parkland, FL, took place in front of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. When my friend asked me if I wanted to make the long drive from Boston to D.C. for a day, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

Getting there was, admittedly, not the most fun. It took about nine hours with the frequent pit stops we took, but the ride was completely worth it.

We got to the march about an hour early the morning after our drive, and even then the streets were already flooded with people. There must have been hundreds of thousands of people there, and the main stage was so far down the main road we could barely see it in the distance.

The people sponsoring the march had put up huge screens every block or so down the street so we could still see clearly. The program itself took place over the course of three hours with the warm D.C. sun beating down on us. The very first thing I noticed about the march was the amazing and creative signs. Everywhere I looked I saw a new one that either was funny or completely destroyed the NRA.

A few of my favorite signs were:

1. Rosie the Riveter.

This is the sign my best friend made for the march. It says, “The only guns that shouldn’t be regulated,” next to a drawing of Rosie’s great biceps. People were stopping my friend on the street to take a photo of her sign and it’s easy to see why. It’s funny but it also packs a punch.

2. Ugh.

When I saw these two kids I immediately smiled. There were so many young children at this march, and I think it really gave a lot of us hope that the next generation will continue pushing for justice in this country. This little kid had a sign that read, “Ugh, where do I even start.” His friend brought one that read, “When you are in a hole stop digging.” Both of these kids are wiser than everyone in Washington combined.

3. Can’t fix stupid.

This line, “You can’t fix stupid, but you can vote it out,” summarizes the main message of the march pretty well. All of the speakers and the crowd kept repeating the same phrase: vote them out; because if our legislators won’t listen to our demands, we have the power to elect people that will.

4. Imagine.

This was probably my favorite sign of the night because this song, Imagine by John Lennon, encapsulates a lot of people’s feelings about how our world ought to be. The sign read, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” The march was truly a chance for the country to come together and take a stand and that’s what the protest really showed me.

Once the speakers started it was a constant stream of emotional hits. Right away, Andra Day came out to sing her song, “Rise Up,” and the entire city of Washington erupted into applause at her moving performance. The teenagers at Parkland all came up to say their speeches as well, and each one of them had an important and moving story to tell.

That was one of the best things about the march; all of the speakers were teenagers and children. This whole worldwide event was done by teens, by the kids that some cynical adults said wouldn’t ever be able to get something like this done. One girl who spoke was only 9 years old and that takes bravery. Her name was Yolanda King and she was Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter.

Another highlight after Yolanda was Miley Cyrus’ performance of one of the most iconic songs from my childhood, “The Climb.” Her performance was beautiful and subdued, and she made sure to keep the focus on the kids that day, even wearing a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High sweatshirt (The school from the Parkland shooting).

Emma Gonzalez, one of the most vocal students about gun violence from Parkland, ended the rally with six minutes and twenty seconds of silence. This was the amount of time the shooter was active in their school and it was a chilling but necessary silence at the march. It reminded us all why we were there; to make sure massacres like that never happen again.

The March For Our Lives was one of the best experiences I’ve had so far. It showed me that politicians and the NRA do not speak for all of America. The people want gun control and we are demanding it. Washington heard us that day, and they will continue to hear us until change is made and a law passed.

 

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