Things That Matter

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

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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Students Hold Sit-In To Protest Teacher Who Told Their Classmate To ‘Go Back To Your Country’

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Students Hold Sit-In To Protest Teacher Who Told Their Classmate To ‘Go Back To Your Country’

A group of students at Nicholas Senn High School in Chicago held a sit-in this week to protest a racist comment made by a gym teacher. According to students, a group of students stayed seated during the national anthem and a gym teacher told a Latina student to “go back to your country” in response.

Nicholas Senn High School students in Chicago held a sit-in to protest a teacher’s offensive comment.

According to NBC News, 17-year-old Yésica Salazar said she was at a Hispanic Heritage Month assembly when the Pledge of Allegiance was performed. She and other students remained seated as a form of protest against the anti-immigration rhetoric and policies in the country.

The incident allegedly occurred as the students were leaving the assembly for not standing. When they left, a teacher stopped the student and told her that she should “go back to your country.”

A video on Twitter shows the principal addressing the protesting students.

“I notified everybody within three hours of receiving the report. It is all in writing,” Principal Mary Beck told the students. “It is all time-stamped. I did my job. I continue to follow through based on the guidelines and policies that we have in place. Every time.”

Despite the answer, the students chanted back at her saying, “So, why is he still here?”

The school is predominately Latino and Black.

Senn High School is predominantly Latino and black. According to data, Nicholas Senn High School is 25.8 percent Black, 42.3 percent Latino, 11.2 percent white, and 17.5 percent Asian.

The “go back to your country” comment has grown in popularity since President Trump took office. There have been examples of comment shared all over social media and is directed to Black, brown, and Asian people. There have even been instances when people have used this phrase against Native American people. To be clear, it has nothing to do with immigration and everything to do with racism.

People on social media are celebrating the students for holding people in power at their school accountable.

What do you think about the protest and response?

READ: Another Sexist Man Has Mocked The Feminist Protest Movement Sweeping Latin America By Dressing Up As A Victim

Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot Has Overseen A Huge Drop In The City’s Violent Crime Right And This Is Why

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Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot Has Overseen A Huge Drop In The City’s Violent Crime Right And This Is Why

Pixabay

Chicago, Illinois, is one of the mayor American cities that faces big challenges when it comes to fighting violent crime. Historically, the city has been renowned for the role that organized crime has had on politics and also because deep social inequality often leads to marginalization. Even though the city experiences high levels of criminality that need to be tackled, there are some promising signs as 2020 begins. And the newly elected mayor Lori Lightfoot might have a lot to do with it, and has some thoughts on why the city has experienced a double-digit fall on violent crime indexes. 

Lori Lightfoot, a queer Black woman, has had a great inaugural year in office.

Credit: Chicago Tonight / WTTW

Lightfoot is part of an important shift in local governments that has seen the number of female incumbents increase more than ever before. As NFINCE reported in its end of year recap of good things that happened in 2019, “with the April election of Lori Lightfoot in Chicago, a record number of black women (eight) served as mayors in the 100 largest cities in the United States.”

Lightfoot has been strong from day one, making masterful political moves such as firing a senior police officer that many had not dared to touch. As the Chicago Sun Times reports: “… she fired the retiring police superintendent she had celebrated one month earlier after accusing Eddie Johnson “lying” to her and to the public about the circumstances surrounding an embarrassing drinking-and-driving incident in mid-October. From a practical standpoint, Lightfoot’s decision simply means Johnson is gone a month earlier than the Dec. 31 retirement date he announced in October. But, from a political standpoint, it’s a sea change”. So yes, while in power she has made sure that the establishment knows that she has the upper hand. 

While cities like Baltimore experienced a spike in crime during 2019, Chicago’s went down by up to 10%!

As the non for profit The Crime Report points out: “Crime in Chicago is down. Though it hasn’t returned to 2014 levels, compared to late November of last year, reported crimes are down by 10 percent. That decrease is driven partly by significant declines in property crime. Violent crime has fallen by 11 percent”. This is great news for the Windy City, which has often been singled out by Republicans as evidence of Democrat failure in government. Let’s not forget that mamy Obama aides and Obama himself learnt to do politics in the tough Chicago scene and the city is a somewhat safe Democratic bastion.

In a televised interview, Lightfoot outlined what she thinks are the reasons behind this positive drop in violent crimes.

Credit: CNN / YouTube

The Chicago Mayor told CNN that one of the reasons for the drop is the alignment of the different government departments in the city to guarantee public safety. But above all, she stated, was the work with what she called “community partners” while being “on the ground”. This is a very similar approach that the Obama-school of Chicago politics advocates for. She also credits the support that the city government has been giving to victims of crime. Lightfoot also singled out the use of complex technology that alerts police when there is a shooting so they can act faster. Technology is being deployed in the most violent areas of the city. There is a constant flow of information that can be sent to the field to track cars, victims and shooters. 

But there is still a lot to do and the situation in Chicago remains less than ideal, so come structural changes are being put in motion.

Credit: WBEZ

As The Crime Report sums up: “Chicago is on track to record fewer than 500 homicides this year, a 35 percent decrease from 2016. Even if Chicago returned to its 2014 murder rate, that would still be three times higher than the national rate”. There are other challenges faced by the Chicago police, such as the low number of solved homicides in the city. 

One of the most significant changes to law enforcement structures enacted in 2019 was a considerable increase in the number of detectives in the city. As the Associated Press reports, the Chicago Police Department “is beefing up its detective ranks and spreading them around the city in the hope that it can catch up to departments in other major cities that solve a far higher percentage of homicide and other violent crime cases”. Authorities are optimistic about this change, as the AP further reports: “Police officials said will get detectives to crime scenes more quickly and give them a better chance of finding witnesses to interview” and “the move will foster public trust in communities, particularly those with high crime rates , and will allow residents to regularly see the same detectives”.

Violent crimes are down, yes, but other offenses that affect communities are up, as reported by The Wall Street Journal: “A rise in carjacking across Chicago has spooked residents even as police celebrate a drop in violent crimes such as shootings and homicides”. So there is still a lot of work to do.