On March 24th 2018, approximately 2 million people marched around 800 locations around the USA in the March for our Lives, a student-lead demonstration which called for tougher gun control measures in America, the largest one being held in Washington D.C. This march was organized in reaction to a mass shooting in Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida which was perpetrated by a former 19-year-old student, Nikolas Cruz, who opened fire and killed 17 people and further wounded 17 people. This mass shooting was one of the deadliest school shootings in the world. The shooting further ignited the debate on gun control within the context of the epidemic of gun violence in the USA.
Immediately after the event, some of the students who survived the shooting called for tougher gun control measures to help eliminate the problem of gun violence. They launched a movement and formed an organization called Never Again MSD to advocate for tougher gun control policies. The students behind Never Again MSD organized the March for our Lives. The March received huge amount of support from many celebrities, such as George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg. They were also supported by many politicians, mostly from the Democratic Party, such as Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Vermont Senator Bernie Sander, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and former US President and first lady Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.
One of the leaders of the movement, Emma González, gave a very emotional speech about the friends she had lost the day of the shooting. The speech included a long moment of silence that with the total speech lasting 6 minutes and 20 seconds, as long it took the shooter to kill the 17 people. The long silence was a powerful statement that transmitted the emotions of her and her classmates during the entire ordeal. Without saying a single word, Emma transmitted one of the most powerful and heartbreaking messages of the entire event.
Similar marches were held around the world in support of the American march, including one held in Montréal. The March for our Lives became the largest student-lead movement in America since the Vietnam War. Indeed the march could represent for many the beginning of a powerful movement, that could hopefully become a tipping point for tougher gun-control legislation and eliminating the problem of gun violence in America.
Written By: Mohammad-Afaaq Mansoor
Photo: NBC News