“I joined the march to call for genuine gun reform, to support the youth crying for change and to be in solidarity with those who want to respect life as sacred”, said Beth Alcazar, a TA member in Chicago.
“This generation gives me hope and if our generations may have failed them, we stand with and by them now,” she added. In spite of the bitter cold, she and other Teresian Association members joined the march and I felt “warmed up by the passion and energy of the crowd”.
Patricia Stockton, TA member in Miami went to Parkland, the place where the shooting of 17 students took place February 14th. She went with the group ‘Rise up Florida' that supports immigration issues. Together they joined the march organized by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas school and walked with people of all ages, included children carrying posters: “Listen to the children”, one said. “Gun control now”, said another. These are the children of today, the women of tomorrow and this gives me hope”, said Stockton.
Aida Varela a TA member also in Miami was moved to see youth from so different places, raising their voice. “I rejoiced in the power and hope of younger generations to continue bringing about change and joining in solidarity across barriers”.
Antonia Ruiberriz, TA member in Hollywood, Florida was impressed “by the wisdom and strength of young people. She was moved by 9 years old Yolanda Renee, using words of his grandfather Marti Luther King Jr. and saying, “I have a dream, that enough is enough”. Watching them Ruiberriz thought of Pedro Poveda and his message to youth: “you can change the world”.
The ¡ March for Our Lives’ took place not only in Washington, Chicago and South Florida. Some 800 marches took place in cities across the nation and in other countries, from Sidney to Edinburg, in Geneva, Rome and London.
“In Congo the President orders to kill people who dare to march,” said Leocadie Lushombo a TA member studying in Boston. She too joined the march to say: “No, no. Guns cannot have the last word and we must continue standing against shootings!”
To protest in Medina, Ohio meant marching in a highly conservative Republican area, said Linda Goldbach a TA member who lives in Cincinnati. “I walked with about 1,000 people carrying our signs and our convictions”. A young man “expressed his concerns about divisiveness in our country and amongst his friends and family members, “she said. “We shared optimism about the young protesters. Can they provide a forum for better dialogue? They bring hope, sense of morality and justice plus vitality and knowledge” she commented.
In Washington DC there was massive attendance. The event went to the whole nation on live television.
In he area close to Congress and the White house and in front of thousands, Emma González, survivor of the shootings in Parkland stood in silence in front of the microphone with tears running down her cheeks and her gaze fixed in the horizon. Until the beep from her cellular phone was heard
“Since the time that I came out here, it has been six minutes and 20 seconds,” she said. It was the same amount of time that the shooter used to kill 17 people. He abandoned his rifle, blended in with the students as they escape, and walked free for an hour before arrest. “Fight for your lives, before it is someone else’s job,” she said before walking away from the stage.
The young woman with short buzz-cut hair, green eyes and a Hispanic last name has become the face of this wide protest movement that some people have compared to what took place in US against the Vietnam war.
The young people are well organized. Have received large donations as their web page indicates and $3million through the GoFundMe campaign, half of which was used to organize the march, the other half to go to the families of the victims.
The web site not only indicates how to continue the fight, it includes sales, resources for the media and guidelines for donations. In Florida they have already achieved that Republican governor Rick Scott signed a bill of reform of gun laws approved by both chambers in clear challenge to the influential National Rifle Association (NRA).
The international press has widely reported the event showing photographs of multitudes in the streets. These young people made the cover of Time magazine and in the New Yorker, Margaret Talbot wrote recently that what is most remarkable is that in a short time these youth have created a movement that crosses barriers of culture, age or skin color.
One only needs to look at the pictures to see that this is true.
Araceli Cantero, In Miami