Six minutes and twenty seconds. “In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 were injured, and everyone, absolutely everyone, was forever altered,” said Emma Gonzalez, Parkland shooting survivor and activist at Never Again MSD.
It’s been a month and a half since Emma was affected by a major school shooting, where 17 of her friends were killed. Since then, she’s become one of brave young faces of the movement for gun control. The excerpt above is from Emma’a speech at the March for our Lives in Washington, DC on March 24th. Like the Women’s March and many recent marches, there were subsequent marchers in solidarity across the country. I was lucky enough to attend the Boston March for our Lives Rally on the Boston Common – only a little over a year after I participated in the first inaugural Women’s march at the same space.
According to TIME, the crowd in D.C. reached about 800,000. This outnumbers the expected crowd size of 500,000 – which, ironically, was the size of the crowd at the 2017 Women’s March.
Between 20,000 and 40,000 protestors marched a 2-mile pilgrimage from Madison Park Technical Vocational High School to the Boston Common. I was unable to make it to the march itself, but I was still able to attend the powerful rally. As I got on the MBTA with my podcast cohost Carly, I was surrounded by fellow, hopeful and inspired protestors.
We arrived to the common to happily find a huge crowd. I’ve never been more happy to have to make my way through a crowd in my life. We somehow moved our way from the back of the crowd to the front, through the barricade. I think what inspire us to push through were all of the witty signs. Besides the whole “fighting for our freedom” thing, there signs may be my favorite part of protests.
When we got to the front, there were speeches from Boston-area activists, artists, teachers and most importantly students. One teacher powerfully said in her speech, “If you want to arm teachers, arm us with science equipment, arm us with books with pages that aren’t missing. Send its librarians that can help students with the joy of reading….”
The sentiments from all the teachers aligned with the statement above. They don’t want to be armed with ammunition, they want to be armed with education. The students had a powerful message as well. Many students that spoke were from the surrounding cities of Boston that are stricken with crime and gun violence. The violence that they see every day is different than the gun violence experienced at Parkland.
There’s a lot of conversation around the Parkland kids getting more positive attention than the Black Lives Matter movement. The difference between the Parkland kids and the Black Lives Matter movement are very obvious – skin color and socioeconomic status. Unfortunately, these distinctions change the way that society seems them and if they listen to what they have to say. Thankfully, the Parkland kids are using their privilege to bring light to the issues that BLM has been talking about for years.
I was very happy to see the Boston rally focusing on gun violence in all senses of the words. I’ve always been proud of how focused my home city is on progress.