NEWS
24/03/2018 22:31 SAST | Updated 25/03/2018 01:18 SAST

The March For Our Lives Is Proof That Generation Z Can't Be Stopped

These kids won’t settle for anything less than change.

Thousands of people gather on Pennsylvania Avenue at the March For Our Lives rally in Washington. 
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
Thousands of people gather on Pennsylvania Avenue at the March For Our Lives rally in Washington. 

Enough.

That was the message that hundreds of thousands of protesters around the world had Saturday for lawmakers who have ignored the toll of gun violence and refused to pass meaningful gun reform legislation.

At the March For Our Lives event in Washington, D.C., students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida ― where 17 people were killed last month ― gave passionate, articulate speeches encouraging young adults to vote. 

Survivor David Hogg made it clear that politicians in the pocket of the National Rifle Association wouldn’t be around much longer.

“To those politicians supported by the NRA and who allow the continued slaughter of our children and our future, I say: Get your resumes ready,” Hogg said.

Fellow survivor and activist Delaney Tarr echoed the sentiment.

“If we move on, the NRA and those against us will win. They want us to forget. They want our voices to be silenced. And they want to retreat into the shadows where they can remain unnoticed,” Tarr said. “They want to be back on top, unquestioned in their corruption, but we cannot and we will not let that happen.”

Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit established after the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre, provided support to the young organizers. Organizers said more than 800 marches were planned around the U.S. and abroad, with some protesters traveling from neighboring states to attend the largest gatherings. 

Many of their signs skewered politicians and the National Rifle Association. The more popular chants that broke out among the crowds included “Not one more,” “Vote them out” and “The NRA has got to go!”

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
Thousands of people gather on Pennsylvania Avenue at the March For Our Lives rally in Washington. 

Stephen, 17, from Syracuse, New York, told HuffPost that people his age aren’t looking for “band-aid solutions.” Brianna, 17, also from Syracuse, said she’s “sick of crying.”

“Let’s fucking do something,” she said. “Go out and do something. Vote.”

Even the youngest speakers pushed for people to take action at the polls. Naomi Wadler, an 11-year-old activist, acknowledged “the African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news.”

“We know we have seven short years until we too have the right to vote,” she said of her peers. “So I am here today to honor the words of Toni Morrison: ‘If there is a book that you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet you must be the one to write it.’” 

Eleven-year-old activist Christopher Lane, a sixth grader who helped organize the New York march, shared a similar message, reciting statistics about how gun violence disproportionally affects black people. 

Colette Paterson, 14, told HuffPost that she and her mother decided to attend the New York march after Colette and 200 others at her Perkasie, Pennsylvania, high school received detentions for walking out in protest of gun violence.

“She’ll be voting in four years. That’s not a long time,” said Colette’s mother, Stephanie, who has a concealed carry permit.

Speaking to a crowd of thousands in New York City, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Meghan Bonner paid tribute to her friend, Alaina Petty, who was killed on Feb. 14.

Bonner, one of many teens from Parkland who leapt into action after the shooting, sent a message of action to people her age: “The adults failed us, and now 17 people are dead.”

Marina Fang contributed to this report.

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