Students Pack Boston’s Streets Advocating for Gun Safety

Nandita Modhubonti, Living Arts Editor

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“Not one more,” is the first sentence of the mission statement of the March For Our Lives movement, a student-led demonstration that took place nationwide. The movement had 800 chapters nationwide and was organized by Never Again MSD, in collaboration with Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit that advocates against gun violence.

The nationwide march was announced by one of the students, Cameron Kasky, a survivor of a school shooting, and scheduled for March 24. The main chapter of the march took place along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. and gained widespread support from celebrities and politicians alike. There was a turnout of nearly two million people, making it one of the largest protests in the history of the United States.

Never Again MSD is a student-led organization at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where on February 14 of this year a mass shooting left 17 students dead and another 17 wounded. The perpetrator was identified as Nikolas Cruz, 19, who is currently being charged with 17 accounts of premeditated murder and 17 more accounts of attempted murder.

The survivors of the Parkland Shooting founded Never Again MSD, which advocates for the rights of all young people nationwide. Some of their main objectives include banning assault weapons, introducing universal background checks to purchase guns, and a digitized database for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms.

Moving away from the nation’s capital to New England, Boston hosted its own protest with hundreds of thousands of people marching to show their support. The peaceful march began in Roxbury, with the crowd shouting chants of “Enough is Enough” and “Black Lives Matter,” leading to the Boston Common. Elected officials including Senator Elizabeth Warren were present at the march where they interacted with students but refrained from public speaking.

The main rally took place in the Common, with a large stage for speakers of all ages carrying signs and posing for photographs. Three young boys stood on a solidified block of ice and held up signs saying “Kids Not Guns,” and two teenage girls posed for pictures with signs declaring “Guns Have More Rights Than My Vagina.” The atmosphere was charged with determination, yet still supportive and welcoming.

As the crowds settled in the Common, the speeches began. Giving platform mainly to students who were either victims of or otherwise affected by gun violence, the speeches all had the common goal in mind of ensuring a safe future for the American youth. Of the few adults who did speak, was an ex Marine turned teacher who discussed the violence that has been carried out not just within the United States, but also worldwide, against children. She confidently argued that fighting gun violence by arming teachers would never be an effective method.

A significant number of the speeches addressed the persistent issue of race that plagues the United States, and the fact that communities of color in American society are still disproportionately affected by social injustices, especially gun violence.

As the speeches came to an end, people began to wander out of the Common, towards Faneuil Hall, still partaking in chants with their fellow marchers, and continuing their opposition to gun violence.