March for Our Lives wants Washington to know ‘we’re voting next’

“It’s a nation of students saying we want to be able to go to school safely,” said Lula O’Donnell of Hunter College High School.
Thousands of Americans are expected to take part in Saturday's March for Our Lives to demand an end to gun violence and mass shootings in our nation's schools.
Thousands of Americans are expected to take part in Saturday's March for Our Lives to demand an end to gun violence and mass shootings in our nation's schools. (Getty)

As with last week’s national school walkouts, thousands of Americans are expected to take part in March for Our Lives on Saturday in cities across the country to protest Congress' inaction against gun violence and mass shootings in our nation’s schools.

 

The March 14 walkouts, which commemorated the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people, including students, were inspired by the immediate gun control activism of the surviving students, who also organized March for Our Lives.

 

The walkouts, said Hunter College High School student Lula O’Donnell, “were really impactful and important, but, of course, that wasn’t the end to the action we need to be taking,” the 17-year-old from Carroll Gardens said.

 

O’Donnell will join a contingent of Hunter students at March for Our Lives in New York City, a sister march to the main one in Washington, D.C.

 

“The idea of having a march in every major city on this one day at this time that’s in solidarity with the victims of Parkland and also in remembrance of the school shootings that have happened the last 20 years and gun violence in general in this country is really important to me,” O’Donnell said. “It’s a nation of students saying we want to be able to go to school safely.”

O’Donnell hopes that March for Our Lives, like the activism of the Parkland survivors who have inspired countless others to join the fight to end gun violence and famously took on lawmakers and the NRA in the weeks since the shooting, sends a very clear message to Washington.

“I hope it sends the message that our voices, even though we’re young, are important because we’re voting next — and they are the voices that will be the most relevant in a few years,” she said. “We really have the power to change things.”

3 things to know ahead of March for Our Lives NYC

• March for Our Lives will begin Saturday, March 24 at West 72nd Street and Central Park West.

• A rally with speakers will start at 11 a.m., and attendees are asked to begin arriving at 10 a.m.

• Marchers will head south starting at noon, ending at Sixth Avenue and 43rd Street.

“School safety is not a political issue,” organizers wrote on Facebook. “There cannot be two sides to doing everything in our power to ensure the lives and futures of children who are at risk of dying when they should be learning, playing and growing. The mission and focus of March for Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues. No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.”

 
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