“Nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change” — Barack Obama’s tweet to march participants.
Around the world they marched, from Washington D.C.to Berlin, from Los Angeles to New York, from Atlanta to Aix-en-Provence, France, where we marched — some 800 marches, including 10 in France.
All spearheaded by those courageous, determined students from Parkland, Fla., where the latest of too-many senseless gun massacres claimed 17 lives. Since 1999, nearly 200 have died from gunfire at U.S. schools. More than 187,000 students in the U.S. have lived through school shootings since the Columbine school tragedy in Colorado in 1999.
The slaughter is not limited to schools: Mass shootings in churches, night clubs, concert venues, shopping centers. Shootings in the streets, in homes. The US has six times as many firearms homicides as Canada, and 16 times as many as Germany. Shootings are a daily occurrence in the U.S. where 20 children are shot on an average day. In 2016, there were 38,000 deaths from gunshots.
Yet nothing changes. Guns are easily obtained, even assault weapons. Weak, spineless politicians are owned by the National Rifle Association whose coffers are enriched by the sale of guns. The NRA advocates even more guns as a means of protection – truly insane.
“Hey. Hey. Ho. Ho. The NRA has got to go,” chanted marchers.
President Trump did not attend any of the rallies, including the one in Florida near his Mar-A-Largo resort where he spent the weekend, no doubt on the golf course. His $1.3 trillion spending bill just signed took no significant new steps on gun control.
ENOUGH, say the students. “Welcome to the Revolution.” This time will be different. They will not be silenced. “Either represent the people or get out. Stand for us or beware. The voters are coming,” Cameron Kasky, a student from Parkland, told the packed crowd on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.
Those of us who marched in Aix (some 100 give or take) were invigorated, inspired and hopeful for change thanks to teens like Cameron. We are not young (for the most part), yet we are concerned about this gun insanity that is tearing our country apart, that is killing our children and grandchildren. We, too, want change.
A speaker urged us to register to vote, to encourage others to do the same, to write our representatives. The momentum must not die.
We were joined by a few French citizens. Two young people told me that they only see this on television. “This is real. This is from the heart.” They were impressed.
“This is what democracy is all about,” we chanted as we marched, joining the “millions of voices calling for change.”
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