Search This Blog

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Historic March Against Gun Violence

Thousands Of Teens To Descend On Washington
Historic March Against Gun Violence

March For Our Lives marks the biggest political moment yet for the student-led movement.
March for Our Lives: Chants of ‘Enough Is Enough’
at Huge Rallies on Guns

Hundreds thousands of protesters, outraged by a recent massacre at a South Florida school and energized by the students who survived, are thronging streets across the globe in public protests on Saturday, demanding action against gun violence in their most ambitious show of force yet.
In New York, marchers bundled in bright orange — the official color of a gun control advocacy group — charged toward Central Park. In Washington, protesters held signs with the messages “Arms Are for Hugging” and “Never Again.” And in Parkland, Fla., less than a mile from where the shooting took place, one protester’s eyes brimmed with tears, surrounded by the echoing chant, “Enough is enough!”
By late morning, counterprotests were also gaining steam. In Salt Lake City, demonstrators carried pistols, flags and toddlers swaddled in blankets. One of their signs read: “What can we do to stop mass shootings? SHOOT BACK.” In Boston, opposing groups of protesters shouted at one another before the police intervened.
Here’s what we’re watching as protests unfurl around the globe:
• More than 800 protests are planned in every American state and on every continent except for Antarctica, according to a website set up by organizers. Check out photos from around the world, and a map of planned protests.
 • The National Park Service has approved a permit for the Washington march that estimates 500,000 people could attend. Called March for Our Lives, the main event there kicks off around midday, and some of the most prominent student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a shooting left 17 dead last month, will speak.

• The student leaders who organized the day’s events, many of them sharp-tongued and defiant in the face of politicians and gun lobbyists, have kept attention on the issue in a time of renewed political activism on the left, as they helped lead a national school walkout and pushed state officials in Florida to enact gun legislation. The effectiveness of the students’ efforts will be measured, in part, on the success of the demonstrations.
• On Saturday, the White House said in a statement, “We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today.” On Friday, the Justice Department proposed banning so-called bump stocks, but President Trump signed a spending bill that included only some background check and school safety measures.
• Counterprotests in support of gun rights were planned in cities including Salt Lake City, Greenville, S.C., and Helena, Mont.
• The Times has journalists covering the marches in Washington; New York; Boston; Montpelier, Vt.; Parkland, Fla; Dahlonega, Ga.; Chicago; Salt Lake City; Los Angeles; Anchorage, Alaska; Rome; Berlin; and Tokyo. Follow them on Twitter.
 The March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. - which students from Parkland, Florida, began planning after 17 people at their high school were killed last month in a mass shooting - boasts high-profile donors and celebrity attendees, and has inspired other communities around the U.S. to plan events.
“We have never lived in a world where there weren’t major school shootings,” said Kate Lebrun, 18. “It should have been enough a long time ago, enough for people to start doing this amount of stuff. I realized if we don’t start now, it’s never going to happen.” 
More than 150,000 students in the U.S. have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Lebrun and a few other students from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland, helped coordinate lodging for teens who are coming to D.C. for the march but might have trouble finding or affording a hotel room.
Teens are expected to travel to Washington from all over the country, and some area restaurants are offering free or discounted meals to student activists. More than 100 GoFundMe campaigns have sprung up to organize bus trips to marches in major cities, according to a spokesperson for the crowdfunding platform.

March For Our Lives Action Fund, the 501(c)(4) nonprofit connected to the event, has raised millions of dollars. The money is covering expenses associated with the D.C. march, but will also be used to lobby for gun safety legislation. It’s not clear what those legislative priorities are yet, and it’s likely they will continue to evolve. A board of directors, which includes public servants, legal experts and professionals, will work with a student advisory board to make decisions on how to spend the money, a spokesperson said.

No comments: