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March For Our Lives Rally receives massive turnout

Protests worldwide gather to oppose gun violence

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March For Our Lives Rally receives massive turnout

(photo by Maren Kranking)

(photo by Maren Kranking)

(photo by Maren Kranking)

(photo by Maren Kranking)

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“Welcome to the revolution,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky said. “Either represent the people or get out.”

Kasky was the first of many student leaders to speak to the massive crowd of ralliers at the March For Our Lives event in Washington, D.C. Saturday. Students, teachers, parents, and other passionate protesters wielding signs congregated on Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd to 12th street NW to show their support for gun control legislation.

Protesters congregate during the March for Our Lives held in Washington, D.C. on March 24. Event organizers estimate that about 800,000 were in attendance. (photo by Maren Kranking)

“I wanted to show support for all the victims of the shooting and their families, and to show the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas who have created this movement that their peers all across the nation support them and are constantly inspired by them,” junior Emily Simons said, who attended the march.

Event organizers had originally expected a turnout of approximately 500,000 people in D.C. After the march commenced, they estimated over 800,000 in attendance, which would make the event the largest single-day protest in D.C.’s history. However, Digital Design & Imaging Service Inc. has given an estimate of about 200,000 attendees.

Regardless, Simons was moved by the large amount of protesters in attendance.

“I’m so glad that so many people came out to show support. When everyone is in solidarity together it creates a very inclusive and positive environment,” Simons said. “There is just an energy in the crowd that is really special.”

In between speakers at the rally, prominent celebrities provided entertainment and energy to the crowd, including singer Miley Cyrus and Hamilton star Lin Manual Miranda. Student speakers each provided unique perspectives on the topic of gun violence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students such as David Hogg and Emma González spoke on the importance of gun legislation while recounting the Parkland shooting; 11-year-old Naomi Wadler emphasized the disproportionate coverage of African American women killed in shootings; and Yolanda Renee King, the granddaughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., made an appearance.

Junior Lily Cooper displays her sign at the march. Cooper compared the lack of action seen from the United States Congress to “In Catilinam,” a speech given to the Roman senate. (photo courtesy of Lily Cooper)

Event-goers brought signs to the protest that displayed bold mottos, ranging from serious messages such as “Fear has no place in schools” to lighthearted slogans such as “Leave the guns and take the cannolis.” Junior Lily Cooper created a unique sign of her own to hold at the march.

“[On my sign,] I chose to include the first line of Cicero’s ‘In Catilinam,’ a speech delivered in front of the Roman senate accusing Catiline of conspiracy against the state, because I felt that there was a powerful connection between this theme and the inaction of modern day American Congress,” Cooper said. “Regardless of whether any congressmen actually saw my sign, I hope that it inspired others to continue fighting for gun reform, as it has for me.”

Following the march, organizers have urged students not to stop the push for change. Americans are being encouraged to exercise their right to vote in order to cause legislation to impose control on the purchase and possession of guns.

“Our generation is aging, and soon we will flood the polls,” Cooper said. “Until that time, it is crucial for young people to advocate for what they believe to be right, especially when heavily underrepresented in Congress.”

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