March for Our Lives: Welcome to the Revolution

Gun reform should not be an issue of politics. We currently have a nation of students that feel that every time they enter their school, they have a target on their back. We should be doing anything and everything in our power to resolve this tremendous issue. I truly believe that it is our responsibility as citizens of this country to fix this and ensure that kids, who are our nation’s future, feel safe in their schools. 

    As a writer, it is a rare occasion that words elude me. On March 24, 2018, at the March for Our Lives, they did. The March for Our Lives was one of most life changing experiences I have had, and for so many reasons. On this one Saturday in March, over one million voices came together to say that enough is enough. To remind our lawmakers and politicians that, at sixteen years old, the only aspect of going to school that should be even remotely anxiety-inducing is that tricky pre-calculus test. No human being should ever have to wonder if today is the day that they will be shot and killed in school. 

    This sounds like something that would perhaps happen in a post-apocalyptic world. But the terrifying reality is that this is modern-day America we’re talking about. 

Growing up less than ten minutes away from Sandy Hook, Connecticut, the site of the 

elementary school shooting that tragically took 26 lives in 2012, I watched firsthand the terrifying consequences of gun violence. I watched what seemed like endless news trucks pile into an ordinarily quiet, small town. Living so close to where one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history occurred changes things. It changes things when it’s the town next to yours that is in the news. It changes things when you know people that graduated from that very school just years earlier. It changes things when you realize that, if something so horrible can happen in a sleepy Connecticut town, it can happen anywhere. It changes things when, six years later, signs still hang in local businesses that declare ‘We are Sandy Hook: we choose love.’ 

 Over 7,000 attend March for Our Lives, Poughkeepsie. Photo Courtesy of Madison Vettorino. 

Over 7,000 attend March for Our Lives, Poughkeepsie. Photo Courtesy of Madison Vettorino. 

    This March was truly a demonstration of just that: love. I attended the Hudson Valley March For Our Lives, and as heartbreaking as it is that there is even a need for this in the first place, I found the March to be incredibly uplifting. According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, over 7,000 attended this one ‘sibling march’ alone. Young people and old people all piled onto the Walkway Over The Hudson with the same goal in mind. They had signs in their hands, and the hope for a safer, more peaceful tomorrow in their hearts. There were men and women, some as old as 85, and even some children in strollers. One man proudly held a sign that declared he was a hunter who was for gun control. It was so inspiring, seeing all these people from different walks of life that all wanted the same thing. Change, for the first time, felt so possible. 

Toward the beginning of the March, an older gentleman began talking to my friend and myself while marching. “Now you girls look like you are high school students,” he smiled to us. When we told him that we were actually college students, he said, “Well, same difference, because your generation is the one that is going to change things. My generation is doing a pretty lousy job right now, but yours is the one that is going to make things better.” 

A heartbreaking moment to witness was when a little boy that appeared to be five or six years old read a sign that said “grads, not guns,” and asked his father, whom he was marching with, what the sign meant. “Well, the Parkland kids who passed away are never going to get to graduate,” he told his son. The little boy considered this and said, “Oh, that’s really sad, Dad.” 

    And that is why we need change in this country. Because not one more child should have to have that realization. Because not one more child’s life should be taken due to gun violence. This is the beginning of a revolution, as Parkland survivor David Hogg said. We cannot afford to wait a moment longer. We can’t have one more life taken as a result of inaction. Gun control. Now.