What to Know
- From South Florida to the nation’s capital, the rejuvenated debate and push for gun law reforms took center stage Saturday.
- The main event in South Florida is taking place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland – where 17 people lost their lives.
- March for Our Lives rallies are expected at over 800 cities across the country on Saturday.
From South Florida to the nation’s capital, hundreds of thousands demonstrated in March for Our Lives rallies Saturday to push for gun law reforms.
The main event in South Florida took place in Parkland, where 17 people lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when suspected gunman and former student Nikolas Cruz entered the school and opened fire.
Current students, as well as alumni took, stood onstage at the school's football, rallying around their shared love for Douglas while remaining steadfast in their push for change.
"I promise you that if we do not force real, meaningful change in our society, these tragedies will continue to happen again, and again, and again," student Adam Buchwald said. "Sadly, we will be repeating this and it could easily be in your city or your town. This stops now!"
Wearing a full-leg brace at the Parkland stage, Sam Mayor, who was shot in the knee, described her harrowing experience.
"My classmates and I laid helplessly on the floor – hearing and feeling rapid gunfire. As I am aware that the horrific tape that replays in my head will never be rewinded, I am also aware that the need for change is overdue," Sam said. "Change was due before 17 lives were brutally taken from such innocent souls."
Max Schachter, who lost his son Alex in the shooting, was emotional when speaking about the 14-year-old who loved basketball, video games, his siblings and being in the school's band.
"As I wrote this speech last night, I could not stop crying. I would give everything to have one more day, one more hour, one more second with the sweetest boy in the world," Schachter said, adding that because of that tragic day, he and other families of victims will never stop fighting "until we make this world a better and safer place."
Students from the school immediately began organizing the events, pushing for a change in laws they say allowed for people like Cruz to purchase high powered assault weapons like the one allegedly used in the Feb. 14 tragedy.
The events started Saturday in Miami Beach, where speakers took to the stage at Miami Beach High School before thousands marched down Collins Avenue, destined for Collins Park.
"Today is the day when we have the courage to show up, stand up and speak up and say no more violence that robs us of the innocence of our country," Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told the crowd at the park.
"We all appreciate your thoughts and prayers but it's not enough, and this is what 'March for Our Lives' is trying to accomplish," Boca Raton high school freshman Ariela Vaca said, joining MSD freshman Sofia Cheremeta. "Politicians think it's not the time to talk about guns, but they're wrong."
"Don't be afraid of going to school because one day you'll be the hands that heal a bullet wound. Don't be afraid because one day you will sit in the chair of the oval office knowing that school shootings are a thing of the past," Ariela added.
The biggest demonstration of the day took place in Washington D.C., where hundreds of thousands marched down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Students from the school spoke during the three-hour event, including junior Alex Wind condemned the National Rifle Association and all politicians standing in the way of gun reform.
Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, students at the school and two of the most vocal members of the gun law reform movement, were in attendence in Washington, along with Broward County Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Runcie.
Gonzalez, the final speaker, distinguished how 17 lives were lost in in a matter of minutes as she stood in deafening silence for minutes.
"Since the time that I came out here, it has been six minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting, and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape and walk free for an hour before arrest," Gonzalez said. "Fight for your lives before it's someone else's job."
March for Our Lives rallies took place in over 800 cities across the country on Saturday.