On March 24, hundreds of thousands of people gathered across the world to protest gun violence, including in our very own Cleveland, Ohio.
Student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) school shooting in February organized the “March for Our Lives” in Washington, D.C. just a few days after the massacre. In the weeks that followed, other “sister marches” sprung up around the country and the world.
Cleveland’s march, attended by an estimated 20,000 people, according to Cleveland.com, was formulated by local high school students and took place in Public Square from 11 a.m. until about 1 p.m. Voter registration booths, some by the Cleveland League of Women Voters, were set up across the town to motivate young people to put actions to their words and vote for politicians with a stricter gun control agenda.
For the first hour, speeches were given to the crowd of thousands by students, Mayor Jackson, a mother of an MSD survivor and County Executive Armond Budish and others. Speakers discussed a need for gun reform, with the teens citing how they now “fear” going to school, and everyone proclaiming how necessary expanded background checks and other security measures are in this day and age.
Amanda King, founder of the project “Shooting Without Bullets,” focused her words into a message that reminded the crowd of how long African-Americans have been fighting for similar causes and of how gun reform must positively effect every race.
“Students of color have been deprived of a safe educational environment throughout U.S. history,” she announced to the huge crowd.
As the march began an hour later, men, women, children and furry friends carried signed proclaiming, “Never again,” “We are the future,” and “Please stop killing our children.” The crowd chanted phrases such as, “This is what democracy looks like!” and, “The NRA has got to go!” as they walked around the block and by city hall.
As the protesters dispersed from the peaceful scene, many knew that their fight was not over– in fact, this was just the beginning of their struggle for effective gun control. The Cleveland March for Our Lives Facebook page has announced a “Town Hall for Our Lives” to take place in April in order to open up the discussion about local efforts to improve weapon policies, and other events are expected to take place in the future.