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March for Our Lives: The Effect

This past Saturday, we marched for our lives. People from all across the world marched to show their support and express solidarity for the innocent lives lost in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, and to fight to end senseless gun violence. This horrific event saw the end of 17 lives and the scarring of many more. This was only one of 28 school shootings in the United States this year. This horrific event led to the students of the Parkland shooting to come together in order to rally support,create a march to raise awareness, and hopefully implement change.

Going into the march, the goal was clear :they were all there to fight to end senseless gun violence in schools. Children are dying, teachers are dying, and schools are not safe. Many people, however, still have very different views on how to handle the situation. Some want to arm teachers so they can fight back and others want to ban guns in the United States completely. They all agree though, that safety is the number one priority right now. Many people in the United States lose family members, friends, significant others, and classmates due to gun violence annually, and they are fed up. This march was a way for students to regain control of the conversation, have their voices heard, and to stop waiting for someone else to take action and stand up for their safety.

On March 24, 2018, over 500,000 people marched in Washington DC. This does not include all the marches that occured all over the world in Europe, Japan, Australia, and Canada. The support was seen worldwide and solidarity shone bright. Many speeches were given by survivors of gun violence and celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Jennifer Hudson performed to show support for the cause. Martin Luther King Jr’s 9 year old granddaughter Yolanda shared her dream of a gun free world and led the crowd in a rallying cry, “Spread the word, have you heard? All across the nation we are going to be a great​ generation.”

Ryan Deitsch, a student from Stoneman Douglas High School gave a passionate speech about arming teachers, not with guns, but with pencils, paper, and pens. Emma Gonzalez, another Parkland survivor, spent 6 minutes and 20 seconds in silence on stage. After the chilling silence, she explained that that was how long it took to murder 17 people at her school. “Happy Birthday” was sung to Nicholas Dworet as it would have been his 18th birthday if he hadn’t been killed in the Parkland shooting. The students of Stoneman Douglas acknowledged that it was because of their schools affluence they received all this media attention. They have vowed to use their platform to stand with all others that have been victims of gun violence.

It is unsure what kind of change this march will bring,but the Primaries in the United States are approaching. These elections will be extremely telling as to whether lawmakers heard the students and are willing to propose  changes to the existing gun laws. Congress and the Senate should take notice, as these students are future voters. Eradicating guns from the United States is something that will probably never happen, but all these students are asking is for it to be safe for them get an education. For it to be safe for them to leave their houses, go out with friends, and live their lives. No one should have live in fear that today might be their last day.

Photo courtesy of Photo Pin

Simi is a senior at the University of Alberta studying Sociology and Religious Studies. She grew up in Houston Texas and lives by the saying “go big or go home”. She is currently Her Campus Ualberta's Editor in Chief and Campus Correspondent. School, volunteering, clubs, and work occupy most of her time. You can find her on Instagram at @simi.bhangoo.
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