In the few days that have followed since the March for Our Lives event on Saturday I have had the voices of the kids and teens that stood up on that stage echoing through my head. I have heard their articulate words of tragic truth over and over in my mind. I have felt proud. I felt proud all-day Saturday as I watched the future of our nation stand their ground and begin the journey into the leaders of America they are so destined to take. I felt proud as the tears streamed down my cheeks, thankful that this generation will be the one my daughter gets to look up to and whose blanket of safety she will hopefully be able to lie under.

As I was sitting there proud, thankful, but heartbroken for the need of these kids to become adults in the first place, I scrolled through social media to find posts comparing the kids to those used in Hitler’s regime. I see falsified information about the kids discrediting them, some saying they were not even a part of the tragedy. Photo shopped pictures of victims propagated and spread like wildfire.

I have to wonder what the need for making up a story about what happened to these kids is when they are so vulnerably standing in front of millions telling it to you themselves.

I tried to think what I could write that would convey what I felt about the strength, courage, intelligence and leadership displayed by our nations youth that day. I tried to think of a way to make it clear that attempting to bully them into silence while simultaneously telling them that bullying is the reason they are being shot is not only not going to work but is a shining light on your own character. I tried to think of a way to explain why we need to listen, but the truth is they already did. They already amplified the message that they as survivors need us to hear, it's our job to listen.

These are the words of the survivors of gun violence, these are the voices of the future. The moments of March for Our Lives that everyone needs to remember.


Cameron Kasky- Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Student.

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]


Cameron Kasky one of the known student faces from MSD began the first of what was many beautiful, moving, intelligent and articulate speeches presented in our nation’s capitol on Saturday March 24, 2018.

“To the leaders, skeptics, and cynics who told us to sit down and stay silent- wait your turn. Welcome to the revolution, it is a powerful and peaceful one because it is of, by and for the young people of this country.”

Cameron went on,

“Since this movement began people have asked me, do you think any change will come of this? Look around, we are the change. Everybody here is standing with the future of our society, is standing with the future and for that I thank you. My generation having spent our entire lives having seen mass shooting after mass shooting have learned that our voices are powerful and our votes matter! We must educate ourselves and start conversations that keep our country moving forward, and we will. We hereby promise to fix the broken system we’ve been forced into and create a better world for the generations to come, don’t worry-we’ve got this.”

Cameron set the tone for the day as he went on to demand action;

“Politicians- either represent the people or get out. The people demand a law banning the sale of assault weapons. The people demand we prohibit the sale of high capacity magazines. The people demand universal background checks. Stand for us or beware, the voters are coming.”


Trevon Bosley- Chicago, Illinois, student.

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]



Trevon enters the stage and introduces himself and his purpose today;

“I am here to speak for the youth who fear being shot going to the gas station, the movies, the bus stop, to church or even to and from school. I’m here to speak for those Chicago youth who feel their voices have been silenced for far too long. “

He goes on to say “Since 2006 there have been more than 5850 people shot and killed in Chicago… that’s those stats are not just numbers in a speech these are mothers and fathers, sons and daughter and on a societal proportion these are lawyers, doctors, artists, musicians and more than anything else these are lives cut short due to senseless gun violence.”

Trevon goes on to address issues within his community that he believes contribute to gun violence “It’s time for the nation to realize gun violence is more than just a Chicago problem or a Parkland problem but it is an American problem.”

He says, “It’s time to care about all communities equally, it’s time to stop judging some communities and worthy and some communities as unworthy, its time to stop judging youth that look like me or my brother that come from impoverished communities any different than anyone else.”


Delaney Tarr- Parkland, Florida. Marjory Stoneman Douglas Student.

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]



Delaney Tarr, another familiar face of Parkland begins her fiery speech “I am here because I am a Marjory Stoneman Douglas Student, however I am not here for the media. I am not here for the crowds as great as you all are. I am not here for the fame or for the fun. I am here on this stage and I am here working everyday for my 17 fellow Eagles pronounced dead because of gunfire. I am here for every person that has died at the hands of gun violence and foe the many more lives who were irreparably changed because of it. I think, I hope that is why were all here because this is more than just a march, more than just one day, one event them moving on. This is not a mere publicity stunt, a single day in the span of history this is a movement, a movement reliant on the persistence and the passion of its people… We cannot move on, if we move on the NRA and those against us will win.”

“Today and everyday we will continue to fight for those things that are right, we will continue to fight for common sense, we will continue to fight for our lives, we will continue to fight for our dead friends. There will be no faltering, no pauses in our cause, every moment will be dedicated to those pieces of legislation, every march, every meeting, every moment all for that assault weapons ban to keep these weapons of war out of the hands of civilians who do not need them. All for the prohibition of high capacity magazines becayse no hunter will ever meed access to a magazine that can kill 17 in mere minutes! All for the reinforcement of background checks and closing loopholes because there must be more of a requirement for a person to access a gun than just a wad of cash.”

She went on to say they are here for tangible action; “We are not here for breadcrumbs, we are here for real change."


Sarah Chadwick- Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Student.

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]



Sarah Chadwick, took to the stage with a pass to enter the event with $1.05 printed on the front.

“When you take 3,140,167, the number of students enrolled in Florida schools, and divide it by $3,303,355, the amount of money Marco Rubio has received from the National Rifle Association, it comes out to $1.05, is that all we are worth to these politicians? $1.05? Was $17.85 all it cost you that day Mr. Rubio? Well I say one life is worth more than all the guns in America! This is not a red versus blue issue, this is a morals issue and to the politicians who believe their right to buy a gun comes before our lives, get ready to get voted out, by us, the future, we will not allow a price to be put upon our lives. We will no longer be hunted down and treated like prey by politicians who simply don’t care about us.“


Edna Chavez- South Los Angeles, CA 17-year-old Senior.

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]



Edna introduces herself and explains she is a member of an organization called community coalition that teaches youth leadership skills.

“That’s why I got involved, I wanted to impact policies and make sure our voices are heard. I am a youth leader, I am a survivor, I have lived in South LA my entire life and have lost many loved ones to gun violence, this is normal, so normal I learned how to duck from bullets before I learned how to read. My brother, he was in high school when he passed away, it was a day like any other day sunset going down on south central and you hear pops thinking their fireworks, they weren’t pops, you see the melanin on your brother’s skin turn grey. Ricardo was his name; can you say it with me?”

The crowd irrupts with his name and cheers of “Ricardo, he’s here with you.” Before she can even speak his name herself and they continue to chant his name as tears stream down Edna’s cheeks.

“I lost more than my brother that day, I lost my hero I also lost my mother, my sister and myself to that trauma and that anxiety, if that bullet did not kill me, that trauma and that anxiety will. I carry that trauma everywhere I go, I carry it with me in school, in class, walking home and visiting loved ones and I am not alone in this experience.”

Later she says “Question, how many more children have to die so that this problem is finally acknowledged? Policymakers, listen up arming teachers will not work, more security in our schools does not work, zero tolerance policies do not work, they make us feel like criminals, we should feel empowered and supported in our schools instead of funding these policies; fund mentor ship programs, mental health resources, paid internship and job opportunities.My brother like many others would’ve benefited from this, so let’s make it happen. Its important to work with to work with people that are impacted by these issues the people you represent, we need to focus on changing the conditions that foster violence and trauma and that’s how we will transform our communities and uplift our voices.”


Alex Wind- Parkland, Florida, Junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]



Alex Wind gave a powerful speech demanding that we hold our politicians accountable;

“In the wake of the tragedy on February 14th we as students, as youth, decided that if adults weren’t going to take action, we would. No gun related legislation has been passed in this country since 2008, 10 years ago. Since 2008 there have been at least 95 mass shootings in this country and hundreds and thousands more, just senseless violence on the cities of our nation in cities like Miami, Chicago and Baltimore. It needs to stop. People believe that the youth of this country are insignificant, people believe that the youth have no voice. When Joan of Arc fought back English forces she was 17 years old, when Mozart wrote his first symphony he was 8 years old. To those people that tell us that teenagers that can’t do anything I say that we are the only people that could’ve made this movement possible.”

Alex went on to say,

“Together we will use our voices to make sure that our schools, churches, movie theaters, concerts and our streets become safer without having them feel like prisons. If teachers start packing heat are we going to arm our pastors, ministers and rabbis? Are they going to arm the guys standing tickets at the movie theaters? Are they going the arm the person wearing the Mickey Mouse costume at Disney? This is what the National Rifle Association wants, and we will not stand for it. We would not need metal detectors, and clear backpacks and more weapons in our streets if there weren’t weapons of war in the hands of civilians. For too long our government has been useless on this issue, our job as their constituents is to make sure we know what they are thinking. There are over 250 representatives that have not come out with a public stance on this issue, it is our job to make sure that we call them up and force them out of the shadows of corruption and into the light of justice.”

He finished,

“Now, we need to educate ourselves on which politicians are really working for the people and which ones we want to vote out, because at the end of the day bullets do not discriminate so why should we? It is not about your race, it is not about your sexual orientation, it is not about your ethnicity, it is not about your gender, it is not about where you live or how much money you make and it is most certainly not about political party, all it comes down to is life or death.“


Zion Kelly - Twin Brother of Zaire Kelly, teen shot and killed in D.C.

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]



Zion began his emotional speech by hundreds in the crowd raising their hand, meaning they too have been a victim or lost a loved one as the result of gun violence. With his own hand in the air he proclaims that he raises his hand for his brother Zaire Kelly. Zion told the story of his brother, track team captain, in the running for Student Government President and full of dreams and aspirations. An aspiring forensic scientist, student counsel member who was killed by gun in September 2017 on his way home. A look of pure pride covered Zion’s face when he spoke of his brother’s style and leadership skills. He continued to tell the horrific story of seeing the blue and red flashing lights with his parents that led them outside to discover his brother had been killed. Zion fought back tears as the crowd encouraged him. Zion went on to explain that in his brother’s name his family is proposing the Zaire Kelly Public Safety Zone Amendments Act of 2018. “This act aims to create safe passage zones for students to and from schools and other activities by expanding the definition of a student. With this amendment a student would be defined by any person enrolled in a public and private day care center, elementary school, vocational school, secondary school, college, junior college or university and expands gun free zones to include recreation centers. This amendment means that every student in Washington DC will carry the protection of my brother’s name, ensuring safety as they travel to and from school in our city. My name is Zion Kelly and just like all of you, I have had enough!”


David Hogg- Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Student.

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]



David Hogg, never one to shy away from calling out the corruption in our political system begins his speech;

“The cold grasp of corruption shackles the District of Columbia. The winter is over, change is here, the sun shines on a new day and the day is ours. First time voters show up 18% of the time at midterm elections, not anymore!”

He asks the crowd how many of them are voting in the 2018 election, hands everywhere go up.

“If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking. They have gotten used to being protective of their position, choosing safety, the safety of inaction. Inaction is no longer safe."

“We are going to make this a voting issue, we are going to take this to every election, to every state and every city. We are going to make sure that the best people get in our elections to run not as politicians but as Americans because this is not cutting it.”

He continues;“and to those politicians supported by the NRA that allow the continued slaughter of our children and our future I say get your resumes ready. Today is the beginning of Spring and tomorrow is the beginning of democracy” David goes on to say, “Now, they will try to separate us in demographic, they will try to separate us by religion, race, congressional district and class, they will fail. We will come together, we will get rid of these politicians that only serve the gun lobby and we will save lives. You are those heroes!”

David finishes

“Lastly, let’s put the USA over the NRA, this is the start of spring and the blossoming of our democracy, so let’s take this to our local legislators and let’s take this to midterm elections!”

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]


Naomi Wadler- Alexandria, Virgina, 11 year old student.

Naomi begins by saying that she is attending the march to honor Courtland Arrington, Hadiya Pendleton, Tiana Thompson.

“I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news. I represent the African American women who were victims of gun violence who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential. It is my privilege to be here today, I am indeed full of privilege, my voice has been heard I am here today to acknowledge their stories, to say they matter, to say their names because I can, and I was asked to be. For far too long these names, these black girls and women, have been just numbers. I am here to say never again for those girls too.”

“People have said I am to young to have these thought on my own, people have said that I am a tool of some nameless adult, it’s not true. My friends and I might still be 11 and we might still be in Elementary School but we know, we know life isn’t equal for everyone and we know what is right and wrong. We also know that we stand in the shadow of the Capitol and we know that we have 7 short years until we too have the right to vote.”


Mya Middleton- Chicago, Illinois. 16-year-old in a creative writing program.

[www.wkyc.com]

“Freshman year in High School I went to get some things for my mom from the store because she was sick,” she went on to get her things “Finally getting into line this guy in front of me all the sudden gets upset because he doesn’t have the money to pay for the things that he wanted to buy. He gets out of line and starts trashing the store,” she goes on “just making a fool out of himself. So finally, when I check out I walk to the door and I am ready to go when I hear and scream and a bang, I turn around and see him grabbing all this stuff, shoving it in every crevice trying to get as much as he can when he finally turns to me. He comes towards me and I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t think. All I remember is seeing dark jeans coming towards me, he pulls out this silver pistol and points it in my face and said these words that to this day haunt me and give me nightmares. He said “If you say anything I will find you.” and yet I am still saying something today. Guns have long scared our children, corrupted our adults and silenced our government. Guns have become the voice of America and the government is becoming more negligent by this predicament by the day.”

“Together we can make sure what happened to me, the students in Parkland and to the individuals who stand here now does not repeat itself to other people. We deserve safer schools, safer classrooms, safer streets and a safer place for us to learn and survive. We deserve better because I believe that we are the future.”


Matt Post- Sandy Spring, Maryland. 12 grade student.


[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]



Matt Post a natural born speaker and apparent leader delivers his speech like he is running for President. He is accompanied by 3 fellow student leaders Brenna Levitan, Michael Solomon and Nate Tinbite who along with himself founded Montgomery County Students for Gun Control.

"You and I gather in a time of moral crisis for our country we stand at our moment when our nations laws are not guided by what is right or wrong, not by what is morally sound for the many but instead what is limited by the insatiable greed of a few. In their greed the gun lobby and their politicians have tried to deflect and distract us. They’ve tried to twist what is clearly a gun issue into anything else, but we won’t fall for it. We know that to only focus on school safety, instead of American safety is to dismiss the thousands of tragedies between the massacres. It ignores the people, disproportionately people of color, who die by bullet without even making a headline. Yet our politicians still lack the compassion to act, and when that cold inaction that continues to fuel this endless bloodshed churns and churns it’s not difficult to diagnose the moral health problem of this country, our nation’s politicians are sick with soullessness, but make not mistake; we are the cure!”

Matt finishes his speech with a rally cry; “It won’t be easy to change things the immoral, the obstructionists, the complicit are already lining up to block our path. We’re gonna have to have some courage to fix this, it’s gonna take some will! So, let me ask, is there a will to keep weapons of war off our street? Is there a will to break the stranglehold of the NRA? Is there a will to bring morality to this countries politics? Then stand up, speak up, register to vote! If we sustain our efforts, if we keep our heads unbowed who can stop us? If we march today, canvass tomorrow and vote 227 days from now we will make this a turning point for our country and we the new diverse, inclusive and compassionate face of America will lead this country once again down the path of righteousness!”


Christopher Underwood- Brooklyn, New York, 11-year-old 6th grade student.

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]



Christopher introduces himself as a junior ambassador for Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.He begins “On June 27th, 2012, my 14 year old brother Akeal Christopher was shot while walking home from a High School graduation party at his friends house. My brother survived for 14 days and died on his 15th birthday July 10th, 2012. At that time, I was only 5 years old, senseless gun violence took away my childhood and nothing in my life was ever the same because I no longer have my best friend. Losing my brother gave me the courage to be a voice for my generation. I took my pain and anger and turned it into action and started speaking out for Akeal, especially for the siblings who have lost their brothers and sisters and for other children whose voices aren’t heard but feel the painful effects of gun violence. I have watched for years as gun violence continues to take a toll on communities across the country. For me, I would like to not worry about dying and focus on math and science and playing basketball with my friends. Don’t I deserve to grow up? On April 4th we will remember Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his death. What we sometimes forget is that he himself was a victim of gun violence. I would like to finish my speech today by honoring Martin Luther King Jr. by remembering his words which are as true today as when he was alive” Christopher quotes Martin Luther King Jr. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”

He finishes “and our lives matter, thank you!”


Jaclyn Corin- Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Student.


[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]



“My name is Jaclyn Corin and I am proud to say that Parkland is my home. Parkland is the heart of this movement, but just as a heart needs blood to pump, my hometown needs to alliance of other communities to properly spread this message. We openly recognize that we are privileged individuals and would not have received as much attention if it weren’t for the affluence of our city. Because of that however, we share the stage today and forever with those who have always stared down the barrel of a gun. This issue is undoubtedly an epidemic that effects communities of all classes, an epidemic that the Center for Disease Control does not have the funds to research. This disease continues to spread even though we have discovered the cure but our government officials close their ears because it involves change, a change that does not align with their own agenda. That is why Parkland cannot and will not do this alone. There is strength in numbers and we need each and every one of you to keep screaming at your own congressmen. Don’t be scared just because they have senator in front of their name. Our elected officials have seen American after American drop from a bullet and instead of waking up to protect us they have been hitting the snooze button, but we are here to shake them awake. Each congressmen has a local office in their district so pay them a visit or organize a town hall, they will be home for the next 2 weeks.” Jaclyn’s fiery attitude does not let up. “Have them hear you out because they work for us! If they still won’t meet with you, remind them that you invited their opponent because we all know they’ll show up then.”

“We cannot keep America great if we cannot keep America safe”

Fighting back tears Jaclyn continues “Our First Amendment Right is our weapon of war in this, a weapon that should be on our streets, a weapon that cannot kill but can heal. Love will always outweigh the hate, as the universe is on the side of justice.” She pleads “So I need each and every one of you to continue fighting alongside us because hearts cannot pump without blood and I do not want your community to join the ghastly inner circle that mine is now a part of. In the end, we are all fighting for our lives but we are a great generation and we’ll be the ones to make America safe!

Jaclyn brings up the next speaker.


Yolanda Renee King- Granddaughter of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King. (Pictured above.)

“My grandfather had a dream that his four little children would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream that enough is enough and this would be a gun free world, period!”

Yolanda then led the crowd in a chant “Spread the word! Have you heard? All across the nation! We are going to be a great generation!”


Ryan Deitsch- Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Student.


[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]


Following Miley Cyrus, Ryan starts his speech “I’d like to take it down. There might be musicians on this stage, but this is not Coachella. We might have movie stars in the crowd, we might have videos on these screens, but this is not the Oscars. I don’t know if you’ve been looking but I don’t see any Macy’s Day Balloons out there!This is real life, this is reality, this is what’s happening in our country and around the world today. I’d like to make it real for a minute. February 14th is my sisters birthday she had to spend that birthday huddled under a desk holding Lauren Hogg, David’s sister’s hand, hoping she was going to make it home that day. She was premature, she didn’t know if she was going to make it at the beginning of her life and she didn’t know if she was going to make it home that day, this year. She might have not stared down the shooters eyes, she might have not even seen him or known who he was be he affected her life just as much as anyone else who has spoken on this stage today.”

Then Ryan shocked the crowd

“I know a lot of people are saying we need to make America safe again and I know that we can’t. We cannot make America Safe again until we arm our teachers. We need to arm our teachers.”

Ryan pauses as the faces in the crowd began to drop and subtle reactions of voices began to stir

“We need to arm them with pencils, pens, paper and the money they need! They need that money to support their families and themselves before they can support the futures in those classrooms, to support the future that sits down at that desk waiting to learn! And we need to arm our students too! We need to arm them with the facts and the knowledge and the education they need to live in the real world!” the crowd screaming the entire time.

“I’ve been amazed by what I’ve seen. I’m amazed that I cannot see the end of this crowd here in D.C. today. I’ve been amazed by all of the walkouts that have taken place over these past 5 weeks. These walkouts, they’ve been criticized, they’ve been told is it a disruption to the educational process and I say to them, the real disruption to the educational process is staring down the barrel of a gun!”

He finishes “They may preach NRA, they may preach GUN but we are preaching REV register, educate, vote! Thank you, and hello uncle Myron!”


Aalayah Eastmond- Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Student.

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]



“I am Aalayah Eastomd and I am a Parkland survivor I was in room 1214, studying Holocaust history when bullets started flying in and I was the third classroom. Today one of my fallen Eagles, Nicholas Dwore, it would’ve been his 18th birthday today and I dedicate my march to him! I am not only here to speak about school shootings I’m here to speak for the urban communities that have been speaking out about this way before February 14, 2018, those voices are just as important as ours and they need to be heard. “

Aalayah goes on to demand change now, “How many more? How many more do we need in schools? How many more do we need in the streets? We need change now!”

“All of our lives are important, and all of our stories need to be heard no matter what color you are, what school you go to, what neighborhood you live in.”


Samantha Fuentes- Parkland Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Student



[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]


Smiling from ear to ear began “Hello beautiful people of America!” she goes on to say she is here not for herself but for everyone else so they don’t have to experience what she did. “So you don’t ever have to worry about going into a Holocaust history class to learn about death and then experience it right before your eyes and that’s why this piece is called Enough.” She says as she opens her notes, visibly shaken with nerves

“Never did I think I would be herded like cattle by a shower of bullets that left me scarred and rattled. Forced to huddle among those who lost their last living breaths on a day that was designated for loves and laugh. I never got to say goodbye, I could barely see out my eyes because I was crying tears and blood at the same time, barricaded behind those filing cabinets and bookcases that day taught me one thing and one thing only, regardless of how much money you pay or how much you pray if you don’t change anything today your children will no longer stay so when do we say enough is enough? Day in and day out our kids are getting shot up and the moment we speak up were scolded, we are not old enough. It is as if we need permission to ask our friends not to die. Lawmakers and politicians will scream guns are not the issue but they can’t look me in the eye.”

Then with no passion in her eyes lost Samantha leaned over behind the podium, puked all over the floor got up said “I just threw up on international television and it feels great!” and continued,

“We’re not asking for a ban we are asking for compromise forget your sides and colors, let’s save one another. Use efficient regulation that doesn’t make any exception. Close the cracks and loopholes with thorough background checks and psychological evaluation. Protect our schools like we do our other government establishments. Use security protocol and methods that are efficient, and one more request listen- our mission is simple and our ambitions unbeatable let’s keep the guns out of the hands of the wrong people and keep them in the hands of the safe and reasonable. So, either you can join us or be on the side of history that prioritized their guns over the lives of others. The only way we can do this is in numbers. Let’s have our lawmakers reflect our views, address our struggles lets stand, unite with one another! We the people still stands true so now America you will have to choose will you give up or is enough enough?”

In closing Samantha brings the crowd together in a tearful rendition of Happy Birthday in honor of Nicholas Dworet.


Alex King- Chicago, Illinois 17-year-old Senior at North Lawndale College Prep High School.

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]

Alex started off his speech “Good Afternoon family, yes I said family. I said family because we’re are here joined together in unity fighting for the same goals. I say family because of all the pain I see in the crowd and that pain is another reason we are here. Our pain makes us family. Us hurting together brings us closer together to fight for something better.” He goes on to introduce himself as a 17-year-old Senior, peace warrior and leader with Good Kids Mad City. “Chicago has been at the forefront of gun violence for a very long time with 650 people murdered in the year of 2017 and 771 being murdered in the year of 2016 but that’s not it. Gun violence travels to places like Florida, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, it happens nationwide. I know many people who have lost loved ones, friends and family on a regular basis due to gun violence. My nephew Deshawn Moore, he was taken away on May 28th in the year of 2017, 2 weeks after his 16th birthday. The day I lost my nephew was a huge turning point in my life. I started doing a lot of bad things, hanging around a bad crowd, I started to really give up but there’s this principle by Dr. King and it states, ‘The beloved community is the framework for the future.’ and what that means is how our community is now is how it will be effected in the future if we don’t make a change. If we aren’t acting like a family now, we won’t act like a family in the future. If pain is in our community now, pain will forever be in our community in the future if we don’t make a change. Our community has been affected by gun violence for so long and will continue to be affected by it if we don’t do something. But, through my friends and colleagues I found help to come up out of a dark place. Everyone doesn’t have the same resources and support system I was lucky to have. Myself and a few other peace warriors were able to take a trip to visit Parkland students and share our trauma with one another. We left not only knowing that we would support one another but also realizing without the proper grants or resources this issue of violence will not be solved and we will not stop until we are properly resourced in our communities. So family, let’s continue to fight for what’s right and, since we are family now, I would like to pass on one of the traditions that me and my family does at North Lawndale College Prep.”

Alex then continued to lead the crowd in what he describes as a traditional African clap that shows unity. Ending with “I love ya’ll.” Alex hands the floor over to the friend who stood at his side through his whole speech.


D’Angelo McDade- Chicago, Illinois, 18-year-old (also pictured above)

D’ Angelo begins his speech with the traditional clap Alex taught the crowd. “For we are survivors. Let me say that again for you, for we are survivors. We are survivors of a cruel and silent nation. A nation where freedom, justice, equality and purpose is not upheld. A nation where we do not live out the true meanings of our creed. When will we as a nation understand that nonviolence is the way of life for courageous people? When will we as a nation understand that we are not here to fight against one another, but we are here to fight for life and peace. Dr. King once said ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.’ Which leads me to say violence cannot drive out violence, only peace can do that. Poverty cannot drive out poverty, only resources can do that. Death cannot drive out death, only proactive life can do that. As I stand before you, I stand as D’ Angelo McDade an 18-year-old from the west side of Chicago. I too am a victim, a survivor and a victor of gun violence. I come from a place where minorities are controlled by both violence and poverty, leading us to be deterred from success but today we say no more. I stand before you, recognizing the body of those who have experienced and lost their lives to gun violence. For we are survivors, for I am a survivor. For we are survivors not only of gun violence, but of silence. For we are survivors of the erratic productions of poverty but not only that. We are the survivors of unjust policies and practices upheld by our Senate. We are survivors of lack of resources within our schools. We are survivors of social, emotional and physical harm. Dr. King had a dream, a dream that we as youth must not make our reality. Ephesians 4:2-3 says ‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.’ 1 Peter 4:8 says ‘ Above all,’ you ain’t hearing me, it says ‘above all, love each other deeply, because love covers all wrongdoing.’ And we as youth, must be the change we wish to see. My momma has this phrase that she uses all the time and she told me before I left home to come deal with this she says ‘If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.’ And I stand for peace.


Matthew Soto- Newtown, Connecticut, Brother of Victoria Soto a first grade teacher during the Sandy Hook Massacre. (pictured below)

“At the age of 15 I sat in my High School Spanish class while my sister Victoria Soto was being slaughtered in her first-grade classroom in Newtown, Connecticut. On December 14th Vicki went into school to make gingerbread houses with her first-grade students before their holiday break. How many of you can remember doing that? The anticipation of having to wait all week, to have to be on your best behavior, but that was cut short. They didn’t get to make gingerbread houses because gunfire rang out in the hallway. Too many times has gunfire been ringing out in the hallways of schools across this country. Too many schools, too many churches, too many movie theaters, too many neighborhoods, too many homes. Enough is enough! We do not have to wait for others to make us safe, we need to do it ourselves. America, I am pleading with you to realize this is not okay, we do not have to live like this. To my fellow students, it is time to stand up! Register to vote, bring power to the polls and show those that say that our lives are not more important than a gun, that we are important, that we matter. Get involved in your community because change no matter how small is change. Many of the students that were in 4th grade when my sister was murdered are now freshman in High School. 5 years ago this happened, 5 years ago and no change has come. Today over 400 students, teachers and parents of Newtown families are here marching with us today. Today we are presenting a banner to the Parkland community from the Newtown community. We know your pain, we know what you are going through and we are inspired by your fight for change"

Matthew is then joined on stage by Tommy Murray, a junior from Newtown Highschool and Jackson Mittleman also a junior, who brings with them the rolled banner. Matthew continues, “We need to use our voices because we cannot change the past, but we can only fight to change and build a better future!”


Tommy Murray- Newtown, Connecticut- Newtown High School Student (pictured below)

“ I was in 6th grade on lockdown for hours and hours when my neighbor shot his mother in her bed then gunned down 22 children and 6 of our educators including my principal Dawn Hochsprung. It was one of the worst days of my life. Since then I have attended vigils, I have protested in front of the gun lobby in our town, I have sent letters to Congress, I traveled to D.C. to meet with Congress to beg them to do something to stop gun violence, but they did nothing. They didn’t ban assault weapons or pass universal background check bills and now the entire Parkland community is shattered the way our town was after the massacre in my Elementary School. We are here to support the Stoneman Douglas students, we want to tell you to keep fighting as hard as you can! Your voices are so important, your stories have truly changed hearts and minds and together our stories will create the change that we need. If these mass shootings can happen in Newtown and Parkland, then they can happen anywhere! Connecticut passed strong gun laws after Sandy Hook and Congress should do the same! Let’s stand together to demand change.We will march with you, we will walk out with you, we will vote with you, we will end gun violence in our country and we will honor with action!”

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]


Jackson Mittleman- Newtown, Connecticut- Newtown High School Student. (Pictured above)

Jackson introduces himself and starts his speech “Tommy and I lead a gun violence prevention group that has been rallying since we were 11 years old to end gun violence in America. I was also on lock down for 5 hours on 12/14/12, the worst day of my life. The Sandy Hook mass shooting should’ve been the last one in our nation but there are more and more every single day and that’s why Newtown says enough, and we say never again! We have worked incredibly hard for the last 5 years to protect other communities but apparently Sandy Hook was not enough for America to make the changes but after Parkland, we feel hope! You have inspired millions of students and adults all around the world. We want to thank the Parkland students and we want to let them know that Newtown High School students stand with them long after the media trucks leave, we will stand by you during your healing and recovery! We are forever connected by tragedy that could’ve been prevented if our lawmakers had the courage to enact smart gun legislation. It touched our hearts when Columbine High School sent us a banner with a message of love and hope, and we hope our message from Newtown High School will help you through your darkest days and before we finish I have a message, Mr. Trump, Congress, the Senate and all elected leaders of America, you have failed us and we have had enough of your NRA agenda! I’m calling out those who have taken money from the NRA, you better bring that check to the bank and put it in your retirement fund because we are going to vote you out! Now I would like to introduce and Newtown and Parkland demand for change.” From here Jackson, Tommy, Matthew and a few others roll open the banner from Newtown to Parkland that reads “Newtown High School stands with Stoneman Douglas” and is signed by countless people. Jackson finishes “Newtown wants change, Parkland wants change, the world wants change; give it to us, now!"

Sawyer Garrity, Andrea Peña and other members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Drama Club

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]



Next Sawyer Garrity, Andrea Peña and other members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Drama Club performed their original song ‘Shine’, a song they dedicated to the 17 victims lost, 15 injured at MSD and countless others affected by gun violence. The song is a beautiful ballad with lyrics like “You’re not gonna knock us down, we’ll get back up again. You may have hurt us but I promise we’ll be stronger and we’re not gonna let you in, we’re putting up a fight. You may have brought the dark but together we will shine the light.”

The song itself is beautifully written and performed and I really recommend checking it out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIbtbSC0siQ

Emma Gonzalez- Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas Student.

[Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for March For Our Lives]

Next, Emma Gonzalez, a teen who a little over a month ago was a regular kid at MSD who is now a nationally known icon for gun control because herself and her community were struck with tragedy takes the stage. The crowd roars as she marches to the podium “Six minutes and about twenty seconds. In a little over six minutes 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 were injured and everyone, absolutely everyone in the Douglas community was forever altered. Everyone who was there understands, everyone who has been touched by the cold grip of gun violence understands. For us, long, tearful, chaotic hours in the scorching afternoon sun were spent not knowing. No one understood the extent of what had happened, no one could believe that there were bodies in that building waiting to be identified for over a day. No one knew that the people who were missing had stopped breathing before any of us had even known that a code red had been called. No one could comprehend the devastating aftermath or how far this would reach or where this would go. For those who still can’t comprehend because they refuse to, ill tell you where it went right into the ground, six feet deep.” Emma goes on, fighting back tears.


“Six minutes and twenty seconds with an AR-15 and my friend Carmen (Schentrup) would never complain to me about piano practice.”

“Aaron Feis would never call Keira Miss. Sunshine.”

“Alex Schachter would never walk into school with his brother Ryan.”

“Scott Beigel would never joke around with Cameron at camp.”

“Helena Ramsay would never hang out after school with Max.”

“Gina Montalto would never wave to her friend Liam at lunch.”

“Joaquin Oliver would never play basketball with Sam or Dylan.”

“Alaina Petty would never.”

“Cara Loughran would never.”

“Chris Hixon would never.”

“Luke Hoyer would never.”

“Martin Duque Anguiano would never.”

“Peter Wang would never.”

“Alyssa Alhadeff would never.”

“Jaime Guttenberg would never.”

"Nick Dworet would never."

“Meadow Pollack would never.”

Then without warning, without hesitation Emma went silent. This teenager stood in front of the world silent, the only audible sounds in the crowd of thousands for a moment is just her tears. She falls silent as thousands there and millions across the world started at her face, her heartbroken eyes, the tears for her fallen Eagles falling from them. She stood silent with the world lingering at her every facial expression, every breath. She stood and silently wept for the remainder of six minutes and twenty seconds, the time it took for one gunman to forever change her life and then she said, “Since the time that I came out here, it has been six minutes and twenty seconds, the shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape and walk free for an hour before arrest.” She finishes “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else's job.”


It is not fair to tell these kids they are too young to care about gun violence when clearly no one is too young to be killed by gun violence. Join in their fight by donating, signing their petition, and most importantly following the link and registering to vote at marchforourlives.com