Across the country, and even across the globe, over 800 March For Our Lives rallies took place in protest of gun violence in the United States. This movement was created by and for students, and was sparked by the tragedy of the Parkland school shooting.
Something that really stood out about this rally was how many high school students and people not even old enough to vote attended. At every rally, teenagers made their voices heard, including many students from Steinbrenner.
“It was really cool to see so many people there for the same cause, and everyone was really respectful to people with slightly different views. The whole experience made me feel like I’m on the right side of history,” said senior Lexi Velte.
Senior Bella Cruz-O’Grady was able to perform at the Tampa march, with a slam poetry piece titled “Blizzard.” The piece played off of the phrase “special snowflake,” that is often used to describe young people who “believe that they can make a difference.” She explains how despite the nickname real change happens when enough “snowflakes” can come together to fight for something.
“Getting to perform there was one of the most intimidating things I’ve ever done. I got to speak in front of roughly 15 thousand people, and when I got up I could see all of Kiley Gardens just full of people and signs. The whole experience was incredible though,” said Cruz-O’Grady.
Some of the most vocal people about gun control have been some of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where the shooting that really lit the fire for this movement occurred. Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg and other students from the school have been incredibly influential in spreading their message about gun violence. Particularly online and in the media, people have been rallying with them in their effort for change, and they have been inspiring others to take action.
“The fact that those students saw a massacre at their school, and actually lived through it and immediately thought to take action is incredibly inspiring. They didn’t go to church and pray for the kids who died, they took action because they were angry, they didn’t just let the sadness overcome them. That’s what I think it really powerful about them,” said Cruz-O’Grady.
While the majority of Steinbrenner students that attended a march attended the one in Tampa, senior Bella Patton actually attended the march in Washington D.C., which was where the biggest march happened. The attendance was around 800,000 people, which provided a very supportive vibe for everyone there.
“It was really amazing hearing everyone speak about it like Martin Luther King’s granddaughter, and the survivors and performers. It was something you’ll only experience once in your life and I was so lucky to be there,”said Patton.
By no means are the Mar. 24 rallies going to be the end of this movement, and future marches and events for the cause are already being discussed. For anyone supporting the movement, rallies and protests like March For Our Lives are important in order to allow everyone’s voices to be heard.
Grace Becker // News Editor