Saturday afternoon a large crowd gathered in the middle of Colonial Williamsburg. Students, teachers, parents and other citizens marched down Duke of Gloucester Street in a seemingly endless line. The group chanted “hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go,” and “enough is enough,” while holding up cardboard signs. Tourists arched their necks to take photos and point at the crowd.
This was the scene of the March for Our Lives Williamsburg protest on March 24.
March for Our Lives protests occurred nationwide on Saturday. This movement was organized by high school students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in response to a shooting at their school that took 17 lives on Feb. 14. According to the organization’s website, marchers demand that children’s lives and safety become a priority and call for an end to gun violence and mass shootings in schools.These demonstrations followed the National School Walkout on March 14.
The main march attended by students from Stoneman Douglas was in Washington, D.C. The event started at noon at Pennsylvania Avenue, between 3rd and 12th streets NW. There were a total of 846 marches registered worldwide.
Citizens in Williamsburg planned their march for the same day as the D.C. one. The event started at 2 p.m. in front of the Colonial Capital building. In the half hour from 1:30 p.m-2 p.m. the crowd grew from only being about 100 people to being about 1,000 people.
Before marching, a series of speakers shared their opinions and experiences with gun violence. Samyuktha Mahadevan, a member William and Mary Students Demand Action, said she and other students her age have grown up with gun violence being a normal thing.
“I celebrate a birthday every year, and (there are) more of the victims of school shootings every year. And this is normal, but normal does not mean good,” Mahadevan said.
Other student speakers included Greg Akerman, president of the William and Mary Young Democrats, Sarah Schlosser, a student Bruton High School, Isabela Riofrio, a student at Hornsby Middle School, Skyla Bailey, vice president of the York Youth Commission and Luca BenYishay-Sapalio, a kindergarten student.
Del. Mike Mullin, D-Newport News, also spoke at the march. Mullin said after the Stoneman Douglas shooting one of his two sons asked Mullin what would happen if there was a shooting at his school.
“I didn’t know what to say to my seven-year-old son Daniel,” Mullin said.
Mullin said you can either change politicians minds or change who is in their seat. This prompted the crowd to chant "vote them out."
Other citizen speakers included the Reverend Max Blalock, from the United Methodist Church Wesley Foundation, Mark C. Downey, a local pediatrician, Katrina Landon, a teacher at Woodside High School in Newport News, Reverend Laura Horton-Ludwig, from the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists.
At around 3 p.m. people began marching down Duke of Gloucester Street, with the protest wrapping up at about 4 p.m. The march occurred and ended peacefully, with police presence and no apparent counter protesters.
Want to learn more?
To learn more about March for Our Lives visit marchforourlives.com.
You can also donate to March for Our Live’s through marchforourlives.com/donate or by buying something on the group’s store on represent.com/store/marchforourlives.
Amelia Heymann can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on twitter @HeymannAmelia.