On March 24th, students, teachers and parents alike banded together to march for gun reform in the United States. The marches happened all over the world, the largest being in Washington D.C. where an estimated 200,000 people took a stand on the National Mall. March For Our Lives is an organization and an event created by the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida that occurred on February 14th. The United States has seen numerous shootings over the years, and unfortunately, the number, both of mass shootings and fatalities, seems to only be increasing with time. Instead of allowing the country to continuously brush this matter aside, the students of Stoneman Douglas decided to take matters into their own hands and force the country into conversation. By creating the March For Our Lives campaign and publicizing it to the extent that to has been, gun control in American has not only become a hugely discussed topic within our own boarders, but internationally as well.
The national campaign encouraged cities all around the country to create their own marches so to further expand and broadcast the important message on gun violence and gun reform. These sister marches sprung up everywhere, including my small town. Two of my friends and I decided to orchestrate our own local march, simply because if we weren’t going to do it, then who was? In one month, we were able to create a march that had almost 2,000 participants, raise close to $1,000 and seriously impact out local community. My two friends did interview after interviews, airing all over our local television, we were mentioned in a New York Times article (*insert happy dance*) and managed to increase awareness and support for the issue in a typically opposed area. Not only was this experience extremely liberating and empowering, but it was incredibly humbling as well. After the march and rally, we had hoards of people approaching us and thanking us for having the courage and perseverance to take on this controversial issue and do something good with it.
The controversy surrounding the March For Our Lives campaign isn’t one that I want to really delve into today, but I do have a few choice words to impart on the issue based on my own ideals and beliefs. Each person marches (or doesn’t) for their own reasons, and to put mine simply; I think that the fact that students can’t go to school without being afraid of being killed by a gun constitutes a change in the way that we govern our weapons. People can’t go to concerts, movie theaters, even churches, without the underlying fear that they won’t be coming out alive. This fear has plagued my generation for so long, it’s become the norm and I personally think that that in itself doesn’t just call for change, but screams for it.
Whether or not other people’s opinions align with my own is less of a concern to me than kickstarting the conversation between differentiating ideas. It is only through conversation, education, and compromise that we can begin to move forwards in creating a country that can protect its people and extinguish the fear that has become imbedded in to our everyday lives.
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