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March for Our Lives

The author, Sanaa Jones (center), is a tenth grader at Western School of Technology and Environmental Science in Baltimore County. She is joined by teen members of the Baltimore County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

My Day at the March for Our Lives

By Sanaa Jones

The eventful day started with the Baltimore County Chapter of Jack and Jill teens and our parent chaperones meeting at Baltimore Center Stage. There we met Mr. Michael Ross, the Executive Director, who had invited us to ride on a chartered bus to Washington for the March for Our Lives rally. We took a few pictures and then we were on our way. While on the bus we chatted and took small naps preparing for our busy day. Two other attendees, who are trustees at Center Stage, gave out bagged lunches and passed out hats for us to keep.

Once we arrived we were greeted by the cold air and huge crowds of people. Being at the march made me feel empowered because I can say that I am a part of a life-changing movement. People had creative signs to mark the occasion: some funny, some sad and filled with sorrow and grief of a lost loved one. Our group walked to a spot and waited for the speeches to begin. The speech given by Emma Gonzalez focused on six minutes and 20 seconds of silence. That’s how long it took for 17 lives to be taken at her school and thousands of others to be traumatized. Her speech gave a new perspective to the Parkland shooting and a personal perspective. She talked about what her friends would never get to do again because they were dead. Another speaker at the march was Edna Chavez, a 17-year-old heavily influenced by the gun violence in Los Angeles. When she told us that she learned how to duck from bullets before she learned how to read the crowd went silent. She is living proof that gun violence can affect any and everyone no matter your race or age.

The March for Our Lives was a great and a life-changing event and it also gave me pause to realize that with this movement, let’s not forget those who were affected before it gained momentum and national attention: people like Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and so many more. All were victims of gun violence and when protesters hit the streets they weren’t greeted with celebrities and magazine covers. They were greeted with tear gas and resistance from police officers. I say all of this to say never again should any innocent life be taken in cold blood. The March for Our Lives was an awakening for us all. I was so moved, having been a part of this event, and my friends and I are grateful that Mr. Ross cared enough to be a part of it and to partner with us teens.