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.
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.
— N.RamJo (@CRMEducation) March 24, 2018
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.
Chants of “No justice, no peace!” down Pennsylvania Ave. pic.twitter.com/iXglna7xTY
— Andrea González-Ramírez (@andreagonram) March 24, 2018
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.
— jackie (@Cooperjackie520) March 24, 2018
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.”
“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.
— Young People For (@YP4) March 24, 2018
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.
Today is the #MarchForOurLives !!! Don't forget to hydrate, scream, and hydrate again !! With all the 17 in mind, we will (MSD) Shine ♥️?♥️
— Emma González (@Emma4Change) March 24, 2018
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.
— Kyli Stoner (@kyli_stoner) March 24, 2018
“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.
— Kirsten Ostherr (@KirstenOstherr) March 24, 2018
ABC13 reports that thousands attended the rally at Tranquility Park near City Hall.
CREDIT: Twitter/Victor Oquendo
Hundreds of thousands attended various rallies held in Miami and in South Florida, according to CBS Miami.
— Stephanie Dippel (@missdip364) March 24, 2018
An estimated, 10,000 people descended in downtown Nashville and marched to the Davidson County Courthouse, WSMV reports.
— La Gran Calabaza (@sbe1976) March 24, 2018
— David Slack (@slack2thefuture) March 24, 2018
It’s being projected that 60,000 people will take to the streets of Los Angeles demanding gun control.
— Jennifer Griffin (@jensgriffin) March 24, 2018
Thousands gathered in Union Park in downtown Chicago.
— persister (@jennb) March 24, 2018
Hundreds of thousands gathered in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area.
New York City
— Career-Obsessed Banshee (@edenwillow) March 24, 2018
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.
— Texi? (@Texi_Tex) March 24, 2018
Many want gun reform so they can live without fear of being killed.
— Luis Xavier De Peña (@PRPR1NC) March 24, 2018
And teachers don’t want to live in constant fear with their students.
— Esmeralda Quezada (@esmeraldaque) March 24, 2018
Did you march today? If so, share your videos and pictures on social media with #Latinos4GunReform.