In response to the deadly shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida this past Feb. 14, students from around the nation gathered in a demonstration on Saturday, March 24, coined March for Our Lives.
Students are speaking out to urge their elected leaders to tighten the laws on gun regulations, banning the sale of high-capacity magazines, installing universal background checks, and a restoring of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban.
Thousands gathered in Lower Roxbury, marching through the streets of the South End and Back Bay, meeting at a centralized rally on the Boston Common. Protestors at the front of the line included students from Stoneman Douglas High School who were survivors of the Florida attack.
Chants included, “This is what democracy looks like,” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho the NRA has got to go,” and “Education is a right, it’s not just for the rich and white!”
Elected officials attended to show their support for the youth-led demonstration, but kept to the back and did not speak at the rally. Police estimated 50,000 people participated in the march and protest organizers estimated more than 100,000 took part.
This protest was among more than 800 held around the world on Saturday, including in Springfield, Plymouth and other rallies in Central and Western Massachusetts.
As the march took over Columbus Avenue in the South End, local residents streamed out to show their support to the students.
“I’m hoping this ripples, and it translates into action,” said David Chicoine of Chandler Street in the South End. “These young people are on the cusp of being able to vote, and they will get involved, go out to vote and make a difference.”
“It also feels different this time,” added Alexander Rosche, also of the South End. “There is a sense of optimism and hopefulness. Hope because it is coming from the next generation and it is something to look forward to. People have long been upset about gun violence, and when I was in high school I couldn’t have had the sense of to be as responsive and organized as this.”
Chicoine said as a resident for over 40 years in the South End, he has seen many marches and demonstrations begin in the neighborhood.
“It is so wonderful that it continues,” said Chicoine. “It really says something on who we are and the openness of our neighborhood.”
William Pryor also of the South End was happy to join in on the march and support the young students leading it.
“I’m inspired by the young people,” said Pryor. “No one should be allowed to have guns unless they are the military or the police.”