Students across the country demand action on gun safety

Thousands descend on the Pennsylvania Ave. for the March for Our Lives demonstration


Seniors Mariam Mohamed and Natnal Endalkachew participate in the March for Our Lives protest in Washington D.C. to call for gun reform.

Aseal Saed, Co-Editor in Chief

It started with a simple hashtag: #NeverAgain. What happened next became an international movement that, surprisingly, began with students.

Hundreds of thousands of students, parents, and citizens took to the nation’s capital chanting, “Never again!”

People gathered in communities all over the world on Saturday for the March for Our Lives gun control rally organized by Stoneman Douglas students who witnessed the devastation of the deadly school shooting in Florida on Feb. 14.

“In attending the march with my friends, I hope that the [politicians] will see that we are relentless and will continue to fight until there is gun reform,” senior Katheryn Hout said. “We want to spread awareness to America and not feel afraid in our schools”

The primary march took place in Washington D.C. with a myriad of speakers calling for gun reform in the United States. Speakers like David Hogg, a senior from the Florida high school tragedy last month, called for young people to register to vote and to become politically active in their communities.

“The march reminded me that I have a voice,” senior Natnal Endalkachew said. “I am turning 18 before the 2018 elections, so I was inspired to register to vote so I can make our generation the most active generation.”

The protest came in response to the tragic mass shooting in Parkland, FL. where 17 students and teachers were killed. However, the rally included speakers from Chicago and Los Angeles who were affected by gun violence as well.

“Hearing the stories of gun violence from black and brown students was really powerful. It made me realize that students have been calling for gun reform in their communities for years,” Endalkachew said.

In addition to the Washington D.C. protest, there were hundreds of sister marches across the globe. However, students like Martina Rexrode came with her mother and siblings from Delaware to be at the center of all of the events.

“We wanted to come to D.C. because we knew that this was the one that would make a change that really needs to happen now and I just want everyone to feel safe in schools,” Rexrode said. “We are the next generation of voters, so if [politicians] don’t listen now then we are going to make them listen when we vote.”

Celebrities like Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson, Vic Mensa, and several others performed on stage and participated in the march along with students. In the days leading up to the event, several celebrities including George Clooney and Oprah have donated thousands of dollars towards the Never Again campaign.

Another major theme during the event was inaction of Congressmen and women. Some speakers called out many Congressmen for taking donations from organizations that lobby for accessible guns like the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Many marchers including former schoolteacher Laurel Flaccavento, whose husband is running for Congress in the 9th district of Virginia, pointed out the need for increased restrictions.

“It is the money that people are making in private prisons, in private schools, the military-industrial complex is strong,” Flaccavento said. “I don’t think we need to ban all guns, although hunting is down, we need sensible gun restrictions. We just need regulations and we need to ban assault weapons.”

The event stirred up many emotions in students, reminding them of the power of student activism.

“I felt wonderful being there because this is like a revolution. It was amazing being a part of something that big, being a part of that change that’s going to affect my life and many generations to come,” junior Hemen Besufekad said. “I was really happy that a lot of people came out to support.”