Teenagers from all across the United States converged on Washington for a massive rally to demand changes to the nation’s gun laws. Similar scenes played out at hundreds of organized events under the banner “March for our lives” across the country and in cities from Australia to Israel and Europe.
CGTN’s Toby Muse reports.
The message from the young survivors of gun violence: our politicians have failed to stop mass shootings in schools.
“Vote them out,” shouted the crowd of hundreds of thousands.
They came from across the U.S. for a rally in Washington, D.C. with a simple message – gun control now.
“I have developed a sense of hopelessness because this happens on the normal basis, an everyday basis. Today, I’m seeking that change in the revitalization that we’ve been asking for,” said D’Angelo McDade, a high school student from Chicago.
The March For Our Lives rally was organized by a group of teenage survivors who witnessed the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February that left 17 dead.
One of the most gripping moments occurred when Emma Gonzalez, a student and survivor of the Parkland massacre, stood on stage and then paused in silence for several minutes– the time it took for the gunman to kill his victims.
The nine-year-old granddaughter of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the crowd. She said, like her grandfather, who famously delivered his “I Have a Dream Speech” in 1963, that she too has a dream.
“I have a dream that enough is enough and this should be a gun free world, period!” said Yolanda Renne King.
The mostly young people who came to protest said they are tired of living in fear of the next school shooter.
“Recently, there was a lockdown at my school because of a threat of an active shooter. And I got messages from friends, because I wasn’t there saying ‘please know I love you if I don’t get out of here,’” said 14-year old Griffin Vanhilst.
Marchers demanded background checks for all gun purchases and an end to the sale of assault rifles. And they said they’ll vote out any politician who gets in their way.
The U.S. has a long history of dealing with the aftermath of gun tragedies. Democrats and Republicans argue on television and the floor of congress and the tragedy fades away. But now feels different.
The teenagers of Parkland, Florida, have ensured that America doesn’t just move on. They have kept the subject of gun patrol at the forefront of people’s mind.
The teenagers face staunch opposition from powerful interest groups like the National Rifle Association and a president who has so far balked at the prospect of banning assault rifles.
But the teenagers in Washington on Saturday were clear: they’re just getting started.
Jeffrey Moore discusses the ‘March for our Lives’
For more on the ‘March for our Lives’ that took place across the U.S. on Saturday, CGTN’s Susan Roberts spoke with Jeffrey Moore, senior analyst at Global Risk Insights.