Marching for our lives: one student’s perspective

In the wake of the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida, survivors orchestrated a “March for Our Lives” event in Washington, DC on March 24 to unify parents, politicians, and students around a common goal—making our schools safer. Various “sibling marches” across the country and around the world aimed to demonstrate solidarity with the movement. I was fortunate enough to participate in New York City’s march.
Prior to the march, Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Gwyneth Bishara wrote a letter to the Ames and Main Campus principals in response to the disciplinary actions that a few students had received at MHS for their actions during the March 14 Walk Out. She ultimately decided that she wanted to fly to New York to march in the protest, as well as meet with several Massapequa School District administrators.
Assemblywoman Christine Pellegrino, a staunch supporter of Massapequa students and the overall movement, also decided to join us at Saturday’s march.
At 7:30am, I rushed to the Massapequa train station. Assemblywoman Pellegrino, Gwyneth, myself, and about 25 of my classmates rode the train to Penn Station. We then took the subway to 72nd Street where the protest began.
We listened to an hour of speeches by survivors of the shootings in Parkland, Sandy Hook, and Las Vegas massacres, as well as several other organizations against gun violence.
Then we marched. We marched from 72nd Street to 42nd Street over the course of three hours. We marched alongside a countless number of people who demanded change. We marched amongst doctors, parents, students, lawyers, politicians, teachers, police officers, construction workers, survivors, Republicans, Democrats, and so many others.
This was a protest that was bipartisan in nature and attracted people from all walks of life who feared that, one day, they too could be a victim of gun violence.
For me, the most eye-opening part of this experience was talking to Gwyneth. She has truly been an inspiration to me and so many other students. In our society we’ve become immune to trauma. We often get our news from our phones and televisions and become detached from major stories. We never hear about the lasting impact and what happens after the cameras go away because there’s no more “story”.
“Seeing students from schools all around the country coming together to make their schools safer is great.” Gwyneth Bashara said. “The people who let their voices be heard and make a difference are even better. With the support from parents and mentors, change is possible and will happen.”
To have Gwyneth fly to New York, sit in front of me, and tell me her story was a life changing experience. She told us countless stories that we never saw on the news—things about her friends and teachers that no one could ever imagine actually happening. It made the issue of gun violence so much more real to me.
I think there’s something beautiful about hundreds of thousands of people congregating to peacefully protest their government and demand action, and I viewed this protest as a plea. We pleaded for Congressmen and Congresswomen to hear us. We pleaded for change. We pleaded for our lives. Perhaps in the past, they weren’t able to hear our voices over the gunshots but I think at this march, we all made our message loud and clear. Now the only question is “Will our politicians listen?”

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes