Students in Atlanta, U.S. “March for Our Lives” over Mass Shootings

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march for our lives(APN) ATLANTA — Sparked by the February 14, 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, a nationwide “March For Our Lives” was held on March 24 in Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; and around the country to stop gun violence.

 

The Washington, DC rally drew some 800,000 people.  A march in Parkland, Florida, drew an estimated 30,000 marchers.

 

Millions marched in around 800 sister marches in cities and towns across the U.S. and around the world.

 

In Atlanta, an estimated 40,000 marched from the Civil Rights Museum to Liberty Plaza across from the State Capitol chanting, ” We Demand Change!” and “Vote Them Out!”   

 

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and local students led the march, which received the assistance and support of the City of Atlanta.

 

Students promised to hold politicians accountable at the ballot box this November; and warned U.S. Congress to change the gun laws, or they will change Congress.    Many organizations were present with voter registration forms to register anyone not already registered to vote.

 

Mary Pat Hector, a senior at Spelman College, asked the gathering to remember the children of Sandy Hook and other children like four year-old Loyd Morgan who was shot and killed on a playground in Bronx, New York.  In 2017, Hector won a lawsuit to get on the ballot in for Stonecrest City Council at the age of nineteen, but did not win the election.

 

Gun violence in school shootings and other mass shootings is just one aspect of the larger problem of gun violence in the U.S..  

 

Many advocates are urging that another group should not be left out the discussion of gun violence: Black men who are victims of gun violence, from the murder of unarmed seventeen year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012 by vigilante George Zimmerman; to the recent killing of unarmed 22 year-old Stephon Clark, who was shot eight times with six shots in the back by police in his grandmother’s backyard in Sacramento, California.

 

Two students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School, Jake and Alex, spoke at Liberty Plaza about gun violence.

 

“We are the people and we have the power; and if we incite change, change will follow.  It may take time, but we must not forget that the power belongs to us,” Jake, a freshman at MSD, said.

 

He cited a study by Louis Klarevas at the University of Massachusetts that reveals after the ban on assault weapons was lifted, gun massacres increased.

 

Alex, a senior at MSD, told the audience that he sat barricaded in a classroom desperately trying to contact his family and friends.  “I felt helpless, scared and I could hardly believe what was happening in my school.”

 

“Your time is running out,” Alex warned politicians who don’t take seriously the fourteen students and three teachers murdered on Valentines Day.  

 

“It is my generation that will finally put a stop to this madness.  We will be voting for those that believe our lives are more important than AR-15’s,” Alex said.

 

“Vote Them Out!” the crowd roared.

 

In 2013, Everytown began tracking gunfire in schools and at college and universities – and over the next three years identified 160 qualifying incidents, including fatal and nonfatal assaults, suicides, and unintentional shootings.

 

Every day, 96 people in the U.S. are killed with guns, according to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

 

Georgia Grassroots Video by Judy Conder

https://youtu.be/ZRM6t5TaBqo

 

(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2018)

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