Students and adults filled the streets in cities across the country on March 24 to protest gun violence in the March for Our Lives.
In Boston, 50,000 people attended the event led by student organizers and participants. Adults chanted with students and thanked them as they passed by, seeming to admire what they were doing.
This was a crowd filled with people who refused to be ignored and the passion was evident in the faces of those who marched and in the signs they had created.
Rutland had 250 people attend that march.
"It was just so amazing to see so many people coming out, in Rutland especially. I mean I know there were other marches going on across the state," said Victoria Quint, a Rutland High School student who organized the event.
The students who spoke in Rutland had powerful and creative ways of expressing their message, Quint said. She spoke of how proud she was of them and one student in particular.
"My friend Anny Lin did a poem about gun violence and its extended metaphor of how a gun works, how a school shooting happens, how congress reacts, how people react, how children are buried," Quint said.
Daniella Carlisle Doolen, a Castleton University senior, attended the march in Rutland as well. She too said she was so impressed with the students who spoke.
“They didn’t just say their opinion, they had educated opinions. They were speaking about actual laws, things that were actually happening,” Doolen said.
Another student performed an acapella song she had written about gun violence.
“I had goose bumps. Almost everyone had tears in their eyes because it was from the heart of a student in a school who is scared,” Doolen said.
In Boston, two Stoneham Douglas High School alumni and one current student, Leonor Munoz, spoke. Their words brought the audience to tears.
One alumnus told of how people would now remember their school and how she wished it was known for its students’ talents instead of its tragedy.
Munoz detailed how the shooting had affected her. She described the SWAT team knocking on the door of the classroom she was in and having to relive the trauma the next morning when her father knocked on her bedroom door.
The crowd chanted with her as she said the chant of the day: “Enough is enough.”
In Washington D.C., an estimated 200,00 attended. Speakers ranged from Stoneham Douglas students to Martin Luther King Jr’s granddaughter. One Castleton University student, Ian Shalek, went to the march by himself.
Encouraged by his father, he attended the rally despite not having someone to go with.
“The chanting, the signs, the thousands of people walking together for one cause was incredible. I wanted to walk forever,” Shalek said.
Going to the march made him feel like he was a part of the movement, he said.
“The energy at the event was riveting, so many people young and old shouting and displaying how they felt,” Shalek said.
Many attendees of the marches said the signs left a huge impact on them.
Quint said one that stood out to her was “Read Magazines, Don’t Load Them.”
In Boston, signs displaying “This isn’t Right or Left, it is Life or Death,” and “Books not Bullets” could be seen.
Fatama Sayeh and Gabriella Rostler of Weymouth High School were fired up about the march in Boston
“I think it is really powerful to see the power in numbers. You have kids who are 4-years-old and you have grandparents walking around,” Sayeh said.
“There was a lot of energy and just it felt like we were making something positive out of a really terrible situation,” Rostler said.
Other high school students, like Bryce Lehner, spoke of their inspiration for marching.
“What inspired me to come is that it’s ridiculous how many times this happens… I don’t feel safe going to high school,” Lehner said.
Students also said they feel this movement needs to continue.
“In order for things to change, we have to keep the movement’s momentum going. This can’t be it, we have to continue to do stuff like this,” Rostler said.
Jessica Reilly, another Weymouth High School student also pointed out that this movement is driven by those who are the future of this country.
“I think that this march just goes to show that change will happen because we’re the next generation. We’re the people who are going to be voting, we’re the people who are going to be in office and if this is what we believe in then this is what is going to happen,” Reilly said.