Why I Marched

With the March for Our Lives on March 24, the end of the struggle for gun control is finally underway.  In other words, we’ve reached the beginning of the end, as some of the event’s speakers proclaimed. I have high hopes for the coming years, especially with this November marking the midterm elections. Every vote counts, and we can’t let the mistakes of the 2016 election repeat themselves.

 

 

This was actually my first time marching, and I was anxious and excited and nauseous and absolutely ready to use my voice. My friends and I took an Uber from campus to Pennsylvania Avenue and found groups of people already heading towards the Capitol, where brave young men and women would speak in front of thousands. The further we walked, the more crowded it got until my group all had to hold hands to make sure we didn’t lose each other. Squeezing past other protestors, one of my friends and I broke off from the group to get a better viewing spot. Working our way through the crowd, we climbed up a little and I felt my breath stop a little when I saw just a fraction of the protestors. It’s heartening to see people from many different walks of life come together in times of political corruption and violence. Unfortunately, there was a bush between my camera and the screens showing the speakers, but their words were no less impactful.

 

   

 

Gun violence is one of the many issues that need to be addressed and standing there listening to these individual’s stories— of losing a twin brother, of being threatened in a store, of losing their best friend—was emotional for everyone. I was so incredibly proud to stand with them and all the people around me in this literal fight between life and death. Of course, I was impressed when celebrities like Demi Lovato and Lin Manuel-Miranda made appearances, but what most stood out was the passion and courage with which survivors spoke out for their communities. It’s a horrible truth that these warriors (isn’t that what they are after all?) had to grow up too soon while those in power turned a blind eye. Emma Gonzalez, one of the figureheads of the movement for gun control, delivered an especially impactful speech. Well, a speech doesn’t really even begin to cover the significance of her words and silence. It was a chilling reminder of how many lives were lost in so little time. It was a tribute to all victims of the gun violence so prevalent in the United States. It was a call to action and a promise for a better future. 6 minutes and 20 seconds. Let this be the last time.

 

 

I think it’s important to note that this is an issue that has been prevalent long before these more covered stories (though I’m not saying one is much more tragic than the other, what is most tragic is that they happened and continue to happen). Poorer communities and marginalized groups in urban areas, such as Chicago and south Los Angeles, have been speaking out about the violence they face on the daily. With the momentum of the March for Our Lives, it’s important to elevate the voices of those who are left at the sidelines. It’s important to not only support the March for Our Lives movement, but also the Black Lives Matter movement. Both are inextricably linked, and it would be amiss to ignore one while supporting the other.

 

Like soldiers fighting for a common cause, we must march on.