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Thousands Took To The Streets In Washington And Across The Country To Join The March For Our Lives Revolution

March for our Lives / Facebook

Welcome to the revolution.”

With those four words, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky began the historic March For Our Lives rally in Washington. It’s estimated that at least half a million people gathered in D.C. today with more than 800 related marches happening throughout the country. According to organizers, every state in the America, and every continent except for Antarctica hosted a march in support of gun reform. 

“Look around you,” Kasky said. “We are the change.”

The streets of Washington were filled with young people demonstrating their desire for gun reform.

CREDIT: Facebook/March for our Lives

The protest in Washing — which Parkland students began to plan on the very day they lost 17 of their classmates — has become an undeniable movement who’s message for gun reform will not dim until they see effective change.

The students have been organizing, fundraising, and productively using social media as a tool for a call to action, which has inspired countless to join the fight for gun reform along with them.

Edna Chavez, a 17-year-old from south Los Angeles, was one of the 20 speakers at the rally in Washington.

Here is Chavez’s powerful speech that you will likely see spreading everywhere.

The senior from Manual Arts High School spoke loudly and proudly of her family, her heritage and her hometown. She spoke about her involvement with the Community Coalition organization who has shaped her to be an activist of gun reform after her older brother, Ricardo, died as a result to gun violence.

“That’s why I got involved,” Chavez told the crowd. “I wanted to impact policies and make sure our voices are heard.”

“I am a youth leader,” she added. “I am a survivor.”

Through tears, Chavez went on to speak about her the trauma and the anxiety she has experienced in the aftermath of her brother’s death, which has impacted her entire family.

“You see the melanin on your brother’s skin turn grey,” Chavez said when speaking about her brother’s death.

On the eve of the protest, David Hogg — one of the most vocal leaders from Marjory Stoneman — was asked by Axios what success looked like for him and his classmates. To that complex question, Hogg said: “Simply, a lot of Americans coming out and becoming politically active. This is the start of our marathon.”

People marched and chanted for gun reform.

Just as the Women’s March motivated thousands to attend their inaugural gathering in Washington, the Parkland students have done the same but in a very short amount of time. They garnered support from the Obamas, George Clooney, Oprah, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West (who attended the Washington event) and many more celebrities who all contributed to their fund. As of today, March For Our Lives has generated $3.4 million dollars.

Today’s rally also included musical performances by Ariana Grande, Common, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, and Vic Mensa.

Demi Lovato performed “Skyscraper” between speakers to show her support of the young people seeking change.

Lovato was one of the first celebrities to reach out to Parkland students and lend her support.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt also performed their new mashup single “Found/Tonight.”

Because the march was so detailed in its planning — which included an app that provided information on the event — the city said they’ve been preparing for this for weeks.

“As the young men and women from Parkland, Florida, have been preparing for Saturday’s event, the District has been preparing to keep them safe here in Washington,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said to The Washington Post.

The crowd represented the intersectionality of all the communities impacted by gun violence.

The New York Times reports that counter-protests in support of gun rights would also be taking place in Salt Lake City, Greenville, South Carolina and Helena, Montana.

Emma González used her voice to keep people motivated in the demonstration that last hours in the nation’s capitol.

Undeniably, Emma Gonzalez has become the face and voice of the movement for gun law reform. She has been the outspoken victim of Parkland who is fighting the loudest.

In an essay in Teen Vogue, the 18-year-old high school senior was very direct about their demands.

“We need to digitize gun-sales records, mandate universal background checks, close gun-show loopholes and straw-man purchases, ban high-capacity magazines, and push for a comprehensive assault weapons ban with an extensive buyback system,” Gonzalez writes.

Organizers want the march to increase voter registration among the younger attendees. Protesters, many of which attended the National Walk Out Day on March 14, have threatened GOP lawmakers that if they don’t make changes to the country’s gun laws they will “vote them out.”

The crowd was not shy about calling for people to make it to the polls in November.

“I want an incredibly large voter registration turnout,” González told MSNBC. “I want people who don’t understand what we’re feeling to come away from this thinking, ‘I might understand this.'”

The march in Washington was accompanied by hundreds of sister marches across the world on 6 continents.

Here’s some scenes of today’s historic March For Our Lives throughout the country and worldwide.

CREDIT: Twitter/@FoxNews

Houston

ABC13 reports that thousands attended the rally at Tranquility Park near City Hall.

Miami

CREDIT: Twitter/Victor Oquendo

Hundreds of thousands attended various rallies held in Miami and in South Florida, according to CBS Miami.

Nashville

An estimated, 10,000 people descended in downtown Nashville and marched to the Davidson County Courthouse, WSMV reports.

Raleigh, NC

Los Angeles

It’s being projected that 60,000 people will take to the streets of Los Angeles demanding gun control.

Chicago

Thousands gathered in Union Park in downtown Chicago.

San Francisco

Hundreds of thousands gathered in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area.

New York City

Hundreds of thousands marched through the streets of New York City, which included many famous faces.

“One of my best friends was killed by gun violence right around here, so it’s important to me not just to march today but to take action tomorrow and to have these people to have their voices heard,” Paul McCartney said on CNN.

People are taking to social media to express why they want gun reform.

Many want gun reform so they can live without fear of being killed.

And teachers don’t want to live in constant fear with their students.

Did you march today? If so, share your videos and pictures on social media with #Latinos4GunReform.


READ: Here’s How High School Students Across The Country Used Their Voices To Demonstrate For Gun Control

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This Military Veteran Served Two Tours In Afghanistan And Was Deported In The Middle Of The Night

Things That Matter

This Military Veteran Served Two Tours In Afghanistan And Was Deported In The Middle Of The Night

CBS Chicago / YouTube

Miguel Perez Jr. says he is being forced out of the only country he has called home. The 39-year-old military veteran will return to Mexico after more than 30 years. Immigration officials ruled that he doesn’t have the right character to be a citizen of the United States of America.

“I’m not leaving. They’re taking me,” Perez Jr. said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.

https://twitter.com/cortez_22_/status/978253853098479616

While Perez Jr. did serve two tours in Afghanistan that duty did not qualify him to automatically become a U.S. citizen. That fact is why many U.S. veterans are deported back to their birth county. Many servicemen never realize they have to put in the actual paperwork and apply themselves.

“Mi hijo, my son went to defend both Democrats and Republicans, rich and poor,” Perez Jr.’s father told ABC. “Soldiers don’t discriminate against anyone, they defend everyone.”

Miguel Peres Sr in front of the White House before Inauguration day, fighting to stop the deportation of his son Miguel Perez Jr. (Army Vet)

Posted by Pueblo Sin Fronteras/Familia Latina Unida on Saturday, January 7, 2017

One of the major stipulations why some veterans are denied citizenship is if they have a criminal background.

In 2008, Perez Jr. was no longer a serviceman and was charged with a nonviolent drug conviction and had to serve some time in prison. That is why he has been deported.

“To be eligible for naturalization, you must demonstrate that you are a person of good moral character,” the letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Because you have been convicted of an aggravated felony on or after Nov. 29, 1990, you are unable to demonstrate good moral character; therefore you are permanently ineligible for naturalization.”

“He lived like a citizen, talked like a citizen, why can’t he live in his country, Why? I don’t understand why?” Esperanza, Perez Jr.’s mother said to ABC.

Many of his supporters, which includes Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, says Perez Jr. should have every right to stay in the U.S. especially because he needs to be treated for his PTSD.

“This case is a tragic example of what can happen when national immigration policies are based more in hate than on logic and ICE doesn’t feel accountable to anyone,” Duckworth said to CNN. “At the very least, Miguel should have been able to exhaust all of his legal options before being rushed out of the country under a shroud of secrecy.”

People see the treatment of Perez Jr. as an injustice.

Perez Jr.’s entire family reside legally in the U.S., which means he will return to Mexico without knowing anyone.

One of the reasons he feared being deported is because, as he says, Mexican cartels will want to recruit him.

“If they are sentencing me to a certain death, and I am going to die, then why die in a place that I have not considered my home in a long time?” Perez Jr. said to CNN.

Servicemen who are currently enlisted without U.S. citizenship will have a harder time gaining proper documentation even more so than before. Even if they apply and fit the requirements for U.S. citizenship, their application may not be processed.

Earlier this year, the U.S. announced that they are doing away with the Naturalization at Basic Training Initiative program, which helps active servicemen apply for citizenship.

https://twitter.com/RedTRaccoon/status/978249444171886592

“[US Citizenship and Immigration Services] has decided to end the Naturalization at Basic Training Initiative,” a USCIS public affairs guidance document dated from Jan. 30, according to BuzzFeed. The document cited “changes in Department of Defense requirements for certifying honorable service for US service members applying for naturalization.”

READ: Its 2016 And Latino Veterans Are Getting Discharged, Then Deported

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