It seems like we hear about gun violence more and more each day. We almost become numb to the news stories surrounding it, which is frightening to me. We're living in a world where gunning down innocent people in schools or movie theaters is the norm. After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida though, it seems that people have finally had enough and decided to make a change.
These students, who have just gone through one of the most traumatic experiences of their lives, are trying to make a difference for the better. By starting this movement, they've ignited a change in our communities, our states, and hopefully our legislation. Their strength and ferocity is awe-inspiring and has even created a ripple effect that is bringing us all closer together as a nation.
My wife and I drove down to Washington, D.C., to participate in the march. She is a teacher, so this particular movement hit close to home. We found it comforting to see so many other educators marching with their colleagues and students stressing the importance of "books not bullets". But it was more than just teachers who were affected. We also came across seasoned activists, ER doctors, families with their children, and individuals that have experienced gun violence.
Making our way through the tens of thousands of people, we searched for a better vantage point to situate ourselves. Walking around barricades and police officers, we stopped for a moment when we heard Cameron Kasky, one of the Parkland students, begin to speak through the loud speakers. He had a message for all the young people of this country: "We are the change!"
As we moved towards the stage, we were captured by the stories told by gun violence survivors and their vigorous demands for stricter gun laws. Emotions ran strong. Matthew Soto, of Newtown, CT, talked about his younger sister awaiting all week to make gingerbread houses with her first grade class, only to become a victim of a school shooting. Tears streamed down the supporters faces. More stories like this were shared with the masses. Finally, Emma Gonzalez took to the stage. She listed each student's name and said how they'd never have another chance, another day, another opportunity. When she finished, she stood in silence, and the entire march fell silent with her. Slowly, peace signs began to rise up from the crowd as a final vow. #NeverAgain