Amplifying the Young Voices of March for Our Lives

March 29, 2018 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

and On March 24, 2018, hundreds of thousands of people attended March for Our Lives — a protest and call to action held in hundreds of cities in every state across the U.S. Yet even more amazing than the massive crowds were the many young speakers raising their voices in frustration, fear, anger, and mourning.

They voiced their frustration at the lack of any real change to America’s gun laws in the last decade. They voiced the fear they experienced at school or in their neighborhoods as they were terrorized at gunpoint. They voiced their anger at the NRA and its influence over Congress, local legislators, and gun owners in general. And they voiced their sorrow — mourning siblings, cousins, classmates, teachers, friends and neighbors whose lives were — and continue to be — cut short by a culture of unfettered gun violence.

Yet with all of this against them, they spoke out — bravely, with purpose, and with hope.

On February 14, 2018, the latest (at this writing) mass shooting occurred in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, fourteen of them students. As there’s not much new I can add to the conversation, I thought the best way to honor the silenced students was to amplify the same number of young voices from March for Our Lives.

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EMMA GONZÁLEZ – 17, Parkland FL
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Students rally for gun control at March for Our Lives

Watch Emma’s entire speech to get the full effect of her message. And then please (PLEASE) leave a positive comment on YouTube to counter the avalanche of hatred she’s enduring.


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YOLANDA RENEE KING (Granddaughter of Dr. King) – 9, Atlanta
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Students rally for gun control at March for Our Lives
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ZION KELLY – 17, Washington DC  |  RYAN DEITSCH – 18, Parkland FL
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Students rally for gun control at March for Our Lives
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EDNA CHAVEZ – 17, Los Angeles
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Students rally for gun control at March for Our Lives
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ALEX KING & D’ANGELO MCDADE – 18, Chicago
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Students rally for gun control at March for Our Lives

Kudos to these two young men, for fighting back against (and giving back to) a society that in large part wants them to fail; or worse, dead.


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DAVID HOGG – 17, Parkland FL
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Students rally for gun control at March for Our Lives
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SAMANTHA FUENTES – 18, Parkland FL  |  MYA MIDDLETON – 16, Chicago
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Students rally for gun control at March for Our Lives
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JACLYN CORIN – 17, Parkland FL  |  ALEX WIND – 17, Parkland FL  |  CHRISTOPHER UNDERWOOD – 11, Brooklyn
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Students rally for gun control at March for Our Lives
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NAOMI WADLER – 11, Alexandria VA
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Students rally for gun control at March for Our Lives

I was pleasantly surprised at how inclusive and intersectional the rallies were. Not only were women of color prominently featured as speakers, but the everyday experiences of gun violence within the Black, Latinx, urban, and low-income communities were presented alongside those of the affluent, mostly white experiences of Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland.

Naomi Wadler — who is ELEVEN, folks — was the best example of this. This is a young woman to watch.

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By the time this is published, the news cycle will have quickly moved on. The next day will be something different as well as the day after. All of this wonderful passion will be forgotten by the media — if not by most everyone …at least until the next, inevitable mass shooting.

My hope in sharing this a week after the fact is to keep these voices, their stories and their determination fresh in our minds. Let’s carry forward this hard-fought momentum sparked by a neverending cycle of lost life. To continue to follow and show support, visit Never Again MSD and March for Our Lives.

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