WESTFIELD, NJ — An estimated 4,000 people of all ages attended March for Our Lives in Westfield Saturday. The student-led march, which called on the US government for stricter gun laws and memorialized the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last month, was of hundreds of March for Our Lives events around the nation.
The march was organized by Westfield High School seniors Emily Bloomfield, Katie Clark, Linzy Rosen and Will Rackear.
Clark kicked off the march:
The crowd marched from the south side of the Westfield train station to Mindowaskin Park, where they heard speakers including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School alum Ashley Miskoff; Reverend Bob Moore of the Peace Coalition; Rahway NAACP President Ronald McCray; former D7 congressional candidate Linda Weber; Rielly Karsh, representing D7 congressional candidate Tom Malinowski; Westfield High School senior Madison McKenna; Katie McClure of Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety; Westfield High School senior Juliette Naeveke; Luis Rivera of Gays Against Guns; and Edison Intermediate School sixth grader Emma Clark.
Speakers were introduced by Westfield High School students Brianna Brown, Ava Feldman and Julia Salvato.
Bloomfield performed her original song, “Rise,” for the crowd, with Lucy Ritter and Josh Markowtiz:
Mayor Shelley Brindle stood on the bandstand with 17 people who represented the students and staff gunned down in Parkland Florida Feb. 14. Brindle said she was proud of the student leaders.
“They give us a lot to be proud of,” Brindle said. “I think our future is bright.”
“On behalf of the student organizers of March for our Lives Westfield, we thank every one of the 3,000+ people who marched today in #westfieldnj, and the dozens of volunteers who made today possible,” the student organizers wrote in a joint statement. “Your voices rang through our downtown, your signs were held high and your passion was ever-present. Thank you to Mayor Shelley Brindle for lighting the #solidaritycandle to show Westfield stands with #Parkland. As a community, we are immeasurably thankful to the inspiring speakers who volunteered their time and travelled in to be part of our march, and to the Westfield Police Department who kept us all safe and organized. The March for Our Lives brought out the best of us in Westfield; the outpouring of support, enthusiasm and passion was inspiring and is exactly what we need to keep this movement going! #neveragain.”
They thanked all of the speakers as well as performers Lucy Ritter, Josh Markowtiz, Sean Garnhart and Betsy True; Matt Boyle for sound and audio; and the organization Westfield 20/20, which set up voter registration booths.
“It was by far the most empowering day of my life,” Bloomfield told the crowd.