Shoes on the ground. People chanting. Signs held high. Music playing in the background.
It is the start of a historic movement. A moment when every race, gender and age came together as one. A movement that involved change and a March for Our Lives.
As a student journalist going out to the world, taking part in a national movement truly moved me. Reporting the significance of March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., gave me the opportunity to meet strangers and feel comfortable to start conversations with some of the 850,000 people there.
At first, the weather seemed a bit chilly, but as people from the east, west and south sections of the streets moved northward and huddled up, it became warm. They held their signs high, and their messages proclaimed: “No More Headlines. No More Body Counts,” “I Deserve to Live Without Fear” and “I Want To Teach Not Carry A Gun.”
Signs that little children held got to me the most. One child whose face I won’t forget had a sign that read “Common Core Math Prob of the Day -- If We Lose 93 Million Americans a Day to Gun Violence, How Many Days Do We Have to Pass A Gun Control Bill Before We Run Out of People To Sign It???” It struck me that children are aware of what’s going on and they too want change regarding gun control.
While marching with the crowd, my teammates and I started sharing our Facebook Live videos and giving our viewers details of the march. While we were reporting, a girl in front of us who seemed about the age of 15 turned back and smiled at us. I felt good inside.
After we completed recording our coverage and continued marching with the crowd, the song “Jammin” by Bob Marley came on. All of a sudden I took a moment to look at my surroundings and I saw every color, gender, age just coming together and holding their signs with powerful messages. I started feeling chills in my body, and tears started falling down my face. I grabbed a napkin that I had in my right jacket pocket and wiped away the tears. One of my teammates touched my shoulder and asked if I was okay. I explained to her I was fine and just taking a moment.
While taking the moment in, I had so many thoughts going through my mind, including putting myself in those young victims’ shoes when they faced the shooter. I also thought of the teachers who died while putting themselves first in line to protect their students. And I thought about the teens who would have been heading to college and would have become doctors, lawyers, journalists, etc. I just wished none of this would have not happened.
At some point, the entire crowd stopped marching and the survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School began their speeches, all of which were empowering -- especially Emma Gonzalez’s six minutes and 20 seconds moment of silence. That moment certainly gave me the goosebumps.
Ultimately, my team and I continued with our news coverage of the march, and we found some students from St. Bonaventure, who had their own perspectives on gun control and reasons for taking part in the march. We also found a special education teacher from Maryland who voiced her opinion on gun control.
Finding an opponent to gun control proved to be our challenge while covering the march. As journalists, we have to give all sides of the story. In this case, we could not find anyone who seemed to be against the whole protest.
But on the bright side, I am glad to be part of an empowering movement which I can most definitely share one day with my children and children’s children. Change will happen soon.
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