First a trickle and then a flood of bodies streamed into Cal Anderson Park Saturday morning, gathering on the faux-grass pitch to lift their voices in anger and determination to send one clear message: enough.
The young people who coordinated and participated in March for Our Lives Seattle — an offshoot of the march on Washington, D.C., led by the survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — are done being afraid at school. They’re done watching the predictable pattern of death turn to public outcry turn to inaction.
“They always say after a shooting, like, ‘Oh we need to change something,’ but nothing really happens,” said Alisha Deming, who participated in the march. “It just goes away until the next shooting happens.”
This time, they don’t just hope it will be different. They plan to make it different.
Volunteers in blue vests scoured the field with clipboards, registering people to vote. Youth leaders lay out their core demands — raising the age to buy a gun to 21, implementing universal background checks and banning assault-style rifles like those used in the most horrific mass shootings in the United States.
As the clock ticked toward 11 a.m., marchers gathered on Pine Street, waiting for the signal to begin their walk toward Seattle Center where they would listen to more speeches and live musical performances.
Present were a contingent of alumni from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School holding a sign in their school colors of maroon and white.
Michelle Curran, MSD class of 2009, said that the shooting hit close to home — she has friends who have lost family, and one of her former teachers lost two students when the gunman opened fire on their classroom.
Curran was skeptical at first that the movement for gun control spearheaded by the high school students would end any differently than it has in the past, but now she’s a believer.
“They have really proven me wrong,” Curran said. “Hundreds of thousands if not millions of people are marching on an issue that I don’t think has ever gotten this much attention before.”
The youth may be our future, but they’re changing the present.
When the students are the teachers
Who owns life?
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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