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WATCH: Democracy Now! March for Our Lives Special Broadcast

Special BroadcastMarch 24, 2018
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Democracy Now! was on the ground broadcasting live from the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., on March 24, 2018, a historic event created, inspired and led by students. The 4-hour special program featured the voices of students and people of all ages who converged on the capital and over 800 other cities around the world to demand action on gun control.

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman. We’re bringing you a special live broadcast of—this is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman. We’re in Washington, D.C., bringing you a special 4-hour live broadcast from the March for Our Lives. Hundreds of thousands of people have come to the nation’s capital, inspired by—this is organized by the student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the mass shooting that took place on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, just a month ago, where 17 people, 14 of them students, were killed by a shooter with an assault rifle.

The demands here by the students, their manifesto, include banning semiautomatic weapons that fire high-velocity rounds; banning accessories that simulate automatic weapons; establishing a database of gun sales and universal background checks; changing privacy laws to let mental healthcare providers communicate with law enforcement; closing gun show and secondhand sales loopholes. There’s a number of demands of the students today.

Eight hundred sibling marches are taking place across the country, and solidarity marches across the globe. Today, on Democracy Now!, you’ll hear the voices from the stage. Seventeen people will speak, in honor of the 17 people killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. And you’ll hear people in the streets. This is Democracy Now!

BRIANNA FISHER: My name is Brianna Fisher, and I’m a sophomore from Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas. And I’m a staff writer for our school newspaper, The Eagle Eye.

LENI STEINHARDT: Hi. My name is Leni Steinhardt. I’m a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I’m also a staff writer at Eagle Eye.

ZOE GORDON: I’m Zoe Gordon. I’m a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. I’m 15 years old. And I’m also a staff writer for The Eagle Eye, magazine editor.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Zoe, let’s start with you. On that terrible day, unbelievably enough, Valentine’s Day, February 14th, the massacre at your school. You’re a reporter. You’re a student. Talk about where you were, your feelings and your thoughts as a journalist.

ZOE GORDON: Yeah. That was a really hard day. And it took—it took me a couple weeks to kind of, I don’t know, just feel a little uplifted again. I know that I had to report on it as a journalist. It’s important to cover what I went through, so that others know and speak up for the voices that were—unfortunately, we lost that day.

AMY GOODMAN: And where were you?

LENI STEINHARDT: Well, I feel like if there is anyone to report on this, it’s us. And it should—because we witnessed everything firsthand, that it should be us like reporting on it and giving the voices out to the world around us.

AMY GOODMAN: That day, the day of the shooting, where were you in school?

LENI STEINHARDT: I was in my chemistry class at the time.

AMY GOODMAN: And was it in the building, the freshman building?

LENI STEINHARDT: It was not in the freshman building, but it was it the building next to it.

AMY GOODMAN: And when did you come to understand what was happening?

LENI STEINHARDT: I don’t think I still came to understand what’s happening. It hasn’t really hit me yet that it’s all actually happening. You know, you hear on schools like Sandy Hook and Columbine, and you never want to imagine your school on the same list as those. So, I don’t think it’s hit any of us yet that it actually happened.

AMY GOODMAN: Did your school—your building lock down right away?

ZOE GORDON: Yeah, yeah.

LENI STEINHARDT: Yeah. I think everyone went to their location where they had to lock down in. And—

ZOE GORDON: It was just kind of chaotic.

LENI STEINHARDT: It was really chaotic.

AMY GOODMAN: And where were you?

BRIANNA FISHER: I was in my AP world history classroom, which is in the back of the school, like facing the highway, so it was kind of the farthest from the building where the shooting happened that it could be. So, I was able to evacuate and leave during that day. But like, I still think it’s so crazy that like while I was able to evacuate, other people weren’t. So like just what Leni said, like I still don’t think I’ve been able to come to terms with what’s happening, because like I went home that night and saw the news. It’s like weird when you look up my school, and this is the first thing that comes up, instead of like our school website or like the environmental activist Marjory Stoneman Douglas.


BRIANNA FISHER: So, like, it just like still doesn’t make sense.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about when you moved into journalism gear. I mean, you have done so much in this month. Did you all just edit The Guardian newspaper?



LENI STEINHARDT: Yeah. The opportunity was given to us. And we were—like I said before, like if it’s us reporting on this, it should be.

WOMAN IN NBC NEWS HAT: Can we just move? We’ve got to get some people out. We’ve got to get out of this area. You can go out.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to walk outside of this area, bringing the students with us. They’re going to get their things. We’re in the midst of this interview, but that’s the way it goes on this day of the March for Our Lives. These are three student journalists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. And here they come. Again, your name, for people who are just joining us.

BRIANNA FISHER: My name’s Brianna Fisher, and I’m a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

AMY GOODMAN: And so, you all had the opportunity to—

BRIANNA FISHER: They’re coming.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s see. We’re trying to get Leni and Zoe.

UNIDENTIFIED: You’re going to have to stand over this side. I’m sorry.

AMY GOODMAN: Leni, can you come for one sec? Thank you. Just for one sec. For one sec? OK, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED: Back up from the gate. You’re stopping at the walkway here.

AMY GOODMAN: OK. So, you were talking about editing The Guardian newspaper.


AMY GOODMAN: What does this mean for you? You were both—you’re a sophomore, and you’re?

LENI STEINHARDT: Oh, I’m also a sophomore. I mean, it’s an amazing opportunity. They’re amazing—they’re a amazing publication. And I think it was really an honor to work alongside them through this and really show us the true side of journalism.

BRIANNA FISHER: It’s great that they’re letting us use their platform and to let us speak out and share our voices, so it’s not just Parkland, Florida, who hears us, and that’s the rest of the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, what sign are you carrying, Zoe, on this day?

ZOE GORDON: I wrote this—I made a sign, that has a front and back.

AMY GOODMAN: Read it to us.

ZOE GORDON: It says, “On February 14, I should have been studying for world history. Instead I was praying that the shooter wouldn’t come into my classroom next.” And it’s kind of like impactful. And the other side says, “Here’s an equation for you: Love over guns.” And then it says, “Books over bullets, number two pencils over AR-15s, and A’s over PTSD.”

So, it just—both are kind of very meaningful to me and very impactful, especially the first one, because it’s my story. I was planning to go home that day. I was planning to skip the end so that I can study for my big AP world test the next day. I was stressed out. After I finished my math lesson, I was like reaching in my bag to get my world history book, textbook, to start studying, right when everything was happening. It’s just so crazy.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that was a month ago.




AMY GOODMAN: Here we are, March 24th, the March for Our Lives, that was started by you.


AMY GOODMAN: That was started by you, the sophomores, the juniors and the seniors, survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In fact, who is Marjory Stoneman Douglas? Who is your school named for?

BRIANNA FISHER: She’s actually an environmental activist for the Everglades.

ZOE GORDON: She saved the Everglades, yeah. She saved the Everglades.

AMY GOODMAN: So, she was an activist, as well.




LENI STEINHARDT: So, if anything, she’s the one who really set the example for us, because if you want to reach an end goal, you have to reach out and do it, even if everyone’s telling you not to.



AMY GOODMAN: And what are you demanding on this day?


BRIANNA FISHER: Just change.

LENI STEINHARDT: Change. It doesn’t matter how we get there or how long it takes. We want change.

BRIANNA FISHER: And we just want to make schools a safer place, so people don’t have to go to school fearing their lives.


AMY GOODMAN: What are your thoughts on what happened in the Florida Legislature, clearly a pro-gun legislature for so many years? What happened there? And then, what about your Congress, the U.S. Congress, here in Washington?

ZOE GORDON: Well, we have seen some change.


ZOE GORDON: We’ve seen some change before. We’ve seen—ever since then, we’ve seen the age go up from 18 to 21 in our state to buy like a gun. So that’s—

AMY GOODMAN: Not quite here yet, in Washington.

ZOE GORDON: Yeah, no, not yet. But we still have—

BRIANNA FISHER: But background checks.

ZOE GORDON: Yeah, and background checks. We still have a long way to go, but I know it’s the baby steps that will take us to the end goal.

LENI STEINHARDT: They need to know that in two or three years, we’re the voters. So, we know their names, and we know their positions, and we’re going to vote them out.



LENI STEINHARDT: So they need to know that.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you considering running yourself?

LENI STEINHARDT: Oh, gosh, no. I’m going to head down the journalism route.


BRIANNA FISHER: I want to go more in a career of like politics, and, like, I want to become a criminal prosecutor. But I don’t know if I would see myself in the Senate, but definitely have some influence and make sure that we can have change.

AMY GOODMAN: And your thoughts on the shooter today?

LENI STEINHARDT: We don’t like to discuss him. He’s—

BRIANNA FISHER: Yeah, like he doesn’t deserve any more media attention or any attention at all.

AMY GOODMAN: And what you’re demanding of Congress right now, here in Washington, D.C., and the president of the United States? One of the things he said—President Trump has called for the arming of teachers. Your thoughts?

ZOE GORDON: No, I do not like that at all.

BRIANNA FISHER: I do not think that’s smart at all.

LENI STEINHARDT: The whole point of this is to take guns—like, to take these—

BRIANNA FISHER: To limit guns.

LENI STEINHARDT: To limit weapons and to limit guns. And I’m not going to be safe in an environment where there’s more guns. And—

BRIANNA FISHER: There’s just so many logistical things that don’t make sense.


BRIANNA FISHER: Like, if there was a shooter, but a gun’s locked up in a safe in a closet, there wouldn’t be time to go get it. So, that’s pointless.


ZOE GORDON: Yeah, it’s just—yeah.

BRIANNA FISHER: And then, where are they going to get funding for it? Like—

ZOE GORDON: Yeah, it’s just like adding fire to fire. It’s not going to make any change. Why would you put more guns into a situation, when we’re trying to get rid of them? It’s just—what happens if the teacher is crazy?

BRIANNA FISHER: Just doesn’t make sense.

ZOE GORDON: It’s like—it’s not practical at all. And they don’t have the funding for it, either. They can’t—last year they couldn’t give us paper for two weeks. How are they supposed to give each teacher a gun? It doesn’t make sense.

AMY GOODMAN: You’ll be marching at the front of this rally today and speaking on the stage. What’s happening at the end, with 17 people standing up?

ZOE GORDON: Oh, I don’t—we don’t know much about that.

BRIANNA FISHER: We’re not sure. Actually, we’re going to be in the, like, Douglas section. Because for our newspaper, we’re also reporting, so we’re going to be interviewing people and talking to different—because people who are speaking, the celebrities, so we’re not sure of the physical like plan of the march. We’re just going to be right in the front the whole time, like experiencing everything.

LENI STEINHARDT: Alongside our fellow classmates and faculty.

AMY GOODMAN: And then you head back to Florida tomorrow?



ZOE GORDON: Actually, tonight.

LENI STEINHARDT: Tonight, yeah.

ZOE GORDON: Right after the march, yeah.


AMY GOODMAN: To go back to school on Monday?

BRIANNA FISHER: No, we actually have spring break this week.

LENI STEINHARDT: Spring break, yeah. Much needed.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, what was it like to return to school after the mass shooting?

ZOE GORDON: It actually felt somewhat nice to come back to school, because you saw all this love from—


ZOE GORDON: —like the outpouring of love from the entire country, not just local schools, but from literally every single one. So, I just loved seeing my teachers again. And even though it’s like hard going to classes where some of my classmates that unfortunately didn’t make it out, like they were in that class, it was hard, but it was just so nice seeing the ones that were there and seeing them alive.

BRIANNA FISHER: Yes. I needed it, because I needed to go to school, make sure that my teachers were OK and my fellow classmates were OK, because there is so much that we can do. And like, I just needed to care for them. And then, like even though it’s not going to be normal anymore, I just needed that sense of normality, of going to school and seeing everyone and being able to get work to take my mind off of things.

LENI STEINHARDT: You know, we really had to rip the Band-Aid off, because if we didn’t go back then, when would we have gone back? We had to start somewhere. And it’s all just baby steps. And eventually, we’ll have our new normal back.

AMY GOODMAN: And I finally wanted to ask you, as journalists, here you’re covering gun violence. So often it has been raised that when there is gun violence in a mainly white community, it gets a lot more attention than in communities of color.


AMY GOODMAN: More children of color are killed by guns, proportionately, than certainly any other group.


AMY GOODMAN: Your thoughts on this, and how you cover this, Zoe?

ZOE GORDON: Well, that’s—as a part of The Eagle Eye, we’re actually trying to get more people from the Black Lives movement to raise their voices on this, too, so that everyone has a voice. It’s not just about our community, but it’s about others that are impacted by this. So we’re really just trying to give everyone a voice here.

BRIANNA FISHER: Well, The Guardian is actually speaking to some people from that community and allowing them to help write pieces, so it’s just great to get their opinions and their voice on the issue, too.

LENI STEINHARDT: This is a platform for anyone. And I feel like if anyone wants to voice their voice, and anyone wants to speak about this, it touches everyone and affects everyone in their own way, so it’s a platform for everyone. So…

AMY GOODMAN: Leni, Brianna and Zoe, thank you so much.


ZOE GORDON: Thank you.

LENI STEINHARDT: Thank you for having us.

AMY GOODMAN: And our condolences and also our enormous praise on what you’re doing today.

ZOE GORDON: Thank you.



AMY GOODMAN: Thank you. This is Democracy Now! You’re seeing three young people, young journalists, from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Marjory Stoneman Douglas, she was a pioneer. She was a suffragette. She was one of the women who helped save—the key figure in saving the Everglades. That’s who their school is named after. This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, broadcasting from the March for Our Lives, Washington, D.C., 800 sibling marches all over the country.

ANDRA DAY: All right, God bless y’all, OK? From “Rise Up” to what you guys are doing today, “Stand Up,” because we won’t stand for this anymore. Y’all ready? Y’all ready? Please give it up for the Baltimore Choir. OK, you guys ready?

[Andra Day and Common and the Baltimore Choir performing “Stand Up for Something”]

911 DISPATCHER: 911. What’s your emergency?

CALLER: Help! Stoneman Douglas High School. Please. He’s coming on.


CALLER: He’s shooting at us. Please. I’m begging you. Please.

JIM SCIUTTO: Breaking news: The police say that a shooter, believed to be just 19 years old, opened fire at his former high school. A heartbreaking day in Florida, and, sadly, an all-too-familiar one.

DAVID HOGG: How many more students are going to have to die, just because politicians refuse to take action?

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: This has happened so many times. And so many times, all we get are “thoughts and prayers.”

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I can only say tonight that the prayers of the American people are with you.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Hearts go out, and our prayers go out.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I come to offer the love and prayers of the nation.

PRESS SECRETARY SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: Here at the White House, the victims and families have constantly been in our thoughts and prayers.

EMMA GONZÁLEZ: The adults let us down. At this point, they’re going to be gone by midterm election, because you are either with us or against us at this point.

PROTESTERS: Never again!

CHRIS HAYES: High school students are refusing to let thoughts and prayers be the end of the story.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Thousands of students are expected to walk out of their schools in mass protest.

CATIE BECK: Hundreds of students coming outside here.

RON ALLEN: I think it’s important to point out that these are student-organized events, really powered by social media.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: We’re starting to realize, “Wait. Why is no one in Washington doing anything?”

DAVID HOGG: We’re children. You guys are the adults. You need to take some action.

ERIC BOLLING: I don’t want to do this gun control discussion right now.

MIKE HUCKABEE: This is not the time to have the discussion.

UNIDENTIFIED: This is not the time for this.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ: It’s not the time.

EMMA GONZÁLEZ: The shooter at our school obtained weapons, that he used on us, legally.

DANA LOESCH: I do not think that he should have gotten his hands on any kind of weapon.

ALEX WIND: If you think it’s too easy to get a gun, do something about it. Make it not easier to get a gun.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ: We know that this type of weapon has been used in other shootings.

DELANEY TARR: We want privatized selling to be completely reformed so you can’t just walk into a building with $130 and walk out with an AR-15.

PROTESTER: We’re tired of being killed!

PROTESTERS: We’re tired of being killed.

SAMUEL ZEIF: How is it that easy to buy this type of weapon?

SEN. KELLI STARGEL: It’s not the weapon, it’s the evil from within. Thoughts and prayers are really the only thing that’s going to stop the evil from within the individual.

NEWS ANCHOR: Today, the students of Stoneman Douglas stormed the Florida state Capitol for the second day in a row.

RYAN DEITSCH: They can walk around any question they want, but the more they don’t act, the more they don’t deserve to be in office.

FRED GUTTENBERG: These kids, who are fighting their hearts out, who are showing us what makes America great, they will take care of it, if no one else does.

CAMERON KASKY: Senator Rubio, can you tell me right now that you will not accept a single donation from the NRA in the future?

REP. ELIZABETH PORTER: Do we allow the children to tell us that we should pass a law that says no homework? No. The adults make the laws because we has the wisdom and we have the experience.

EMMA GONZÁLEZ: Politicians, we call BS!

MATT POST: We will accept nothing less than comprehensive gun control.

DELANEY TARR: We can’t say “thoughts and prayers” for two weeks and then have it go away until the next school shooting comes up, because this, this is real.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Before beginning today, I’d like to take a moment to again send our thoughts and prayers.

CAMERON KASKY: Good afternoon. 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.

My name is Cameron Kasky. Since this movement began, people have asked me, “Do you think any change is going to come from this?” Look around. We are the change. Everybody here is standing with the future of our society. And for that, I thank you.

My generation, having spent our entire lives seeing mass shooting after mass shooting, has 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.

The people of this country now see past the lies. We’ve seen this narrative before. For the first time, the corrupt aren’t controlling our story. We are. The corrupt aren’t manipulating the facts. We know the truth. Shooting after shooting, the American people now see one thing they all have in common: the weapons.

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.

On February 14th, tragedy struck my hometown and my school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Alyssa Alhadeff, Scott Beigel, Martin Duque Anguiano, Aaron Feis, Jaime Guttenberg, Chris Hixon, Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsay, Alex Schachter, Carmen Schentrup, Peter Wang and Nicholas Dworet all lost their lives in less than seven minutes. And I saved Nicholas for the end, because today is Nicholas’s birthday. Nicholas, we are all here for you. Happy birthday. Their families endured great pain. Many others were injured. And thousands of young people, my classmates, were forced to become adults, and were targeted as adults. We have to do this for them. We must stand beside those we’ve lost, and fix the world that betrayed them.

This doesn’t just happen in schools. Americans are being attacked in churches, nightclubs, movie theaters and on the streets. But we, the people, can fix this. For the first time in a long while, I look forward 10 years, and I feel hope. I see light. I see a system I’ll be proud of. But it all starts with you. The march is not the climax of this movement, it is the beginning. It is the springboard off of which my generation and all who stand with us will jump into a safer future. Today is a bad day for tyranny and corruption. Today, we take to the streets in over 800 marches around the globe and demand commonsense gun laws. Today is the beginning of a bright new future for this country. And if you think today is good, just wait for tomorrow. We must protect, educate and inspire the future. And everybody here is proof that we will do that, and the future is looking very bright for this country. Thank you.

TREVON BOSLEY: Hello, everybody. I want to start off with a chant. Everybody, repeat after me. Everyday shootings.

CROWD: Everyday shootings.

TREVON BOSLEY: Are everyday problems.

CROWD: Are everyday problems.

TREVON BOSLEY: No, that was a little weak, everybody. I need it stronger than that. Everyday shootings.

CROWD: Everyday shootings.

TREVON BOSLEY: Are everyday problems.

CROWD: Are everyday problems.

TREVON BOSLEY: Now, make sure everybody in Washington hears us. Everyday shootings!

CROWD: Everyday shootings!

TREVON BOSLEY: Are everyday problems!

CROWD: Are everyday problems!

TREVON BOSLEY: My name is Trevon Bosley, and I’m here with the BRAVE Youth Leaders of St. Sabina. And I’m here to speak on behalf of Chicago’s youth, who are surrounded and affected by gun violence every day. I’m here to speak for those youth who fear they may be shot while 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. And I’m here to speak on behalf of everyone that believes a child getting shot and killed in Chicago or any other city is still a not acceptable norm. Most importantly, I’m here to speak on behalf of my brother Terrell Bosley, who was shot and killed while leaving church, April 4th, 2006.

Just to give you guys a few stats from Chicago, since 2006, there been more than 5,850 people shot and killed in Chicago. And since 2012, there been more than 16,000 people shot. Now, let me repeat that one more time. Since 2006, there been more than 5,850 people shot and killed in Chicago. And since 2012, there have been more than 16,000 people shot in Chicago. These stats are not just numbers in a speech. These are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. 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.

I must add, though, Chicago’s violence epidemic didn’t start overnight. It was caused by many problems that we are still not dealing with to this day. When you have a city that feels it’s more important to help pay for a college and sports complex, rather than fund schools and impoverished communities, you have gun violence. When you have a city—when you have a city that feels we need more Divvy bikes in downtown Chicago for tourists, rather than more funding for workforce programs that get guys off the streets real jobs, you have gun violence. When you have an Illinois state governor, Bruce Rauner, who feels that funding anti-violence programs is, I quote, “non-essential spending,” you have gun violence. When you have elected officials who feel that getting a few extra dollars from the NRA is more important than their actual constituents, you have gun violence. And when you have a president that would rather constantly talk about and belittle Chicago’s violence, rather than send funds or resources, you have gun violence.

It’s time for the nation to realize, gun violence is more than just a Chicago problem or a Parkland problem, but is an American problem. We are here demanding that this country, that we get the—we are here demanding that we get what we, as the people of this country, deserve. We deserve a right to have a life without fear of being gunned down. We can only live in this so often called the American dream, if we have the proper gun legislation and resources to do so. And in Chicago’s case, no more frivolous spending on tourist attractions, but rather we need to spend on the people that actually live there.

It’s time to care about all communities equally. It’s time to stop judging some communities as worthy and some communities as unworthy. It’s time to stop judging youth that look like me or my brother, that come from impoverished communities, any different than anyone else. It’s time for America to notice that everyday shootings are everyday problems.

I’ll close with this quote by Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.” I said this to say, no matter the hurdles we may face along this journey, we must remain hopeful, and we must continue to stand together and fight for the lives that we deserve. Thank you.

DELANEY TARR: Hi, everyone. Oop! My speech. We’re good. OK, OK.

My name is Delaney Tarr, and I’m here today because I am a Marjory Stoneman Douglas student. However, I am not here today for the media. I’m not here for the crowds—as great as you all are—for the fame or for the fun. I’m here on this stage today, and I’m here working every day, 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 for the many more whose lives were irreparably changed because of it.

I think, I hope, that that is why we are all here, because this is more than just a march. This is more than just one day, one event, then moving on. This is not a mere publicity stunt, a single day in the span of history. This is a movement. This is a movement relying 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. They want us to forget. They want our voices to be silenced. And they want to retreat into the shadows, where they can remain unnoticed. They want to be back on top, unquestioned in their corruption. But we cannot, and we will not, let that happen.

Today, and every day, 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, because no hunter will ever need access to a magazine that can kill 17 in mere minutes; all for the reinforcement of background checks and closing of loopholes, because there must be more requirement for a person to access a gun than just a wad of cash.

There are so many things, so many steps to take. Like right now. Sign our petition. It takes two seconds, and it matters. We will take the big, and we will take the small. But we will keep fighting. When they give us that inch, that bump stock ban, we will take a mile. We are not here for breadcrumbs. We are here for real change. We are here to lead.

We are here to call out every single politician, to force them into enacting this legislation, to addressing this legislation, to doing more than a simple Band-Aid on a broken bone. The pressure is on for every person in power, and it will stay that way, because they know what is coming. They know that if there is no assault weapons ban passed, then we will vote them out. They know that if there is no tightening of the background checks, we will vote them out. They know that if there is no shrinking of magazine capacity, then we will vote them out. If they continue to ignore us, to only pretend to listen, then we will take action where it counts. We will take action every day, in every way, until they simply cannot ignore us anymore.

Today, we march, we fight, we roar. We prepare our signs, we raise them high. We know what we want. We know how to get it. And we are not waiting any longer. Thank you.

PA ANNOUNCEMENT: Teachers and students, this is a lockdown drill.

STUDENT 1: Even if it’s a drill, when it’s brought to your home, it makes it more real.

STUDENT 2: We heard gunshots. So we started thinking it was real.

STUDENT 3: We would try to run away from the attacker or anything, outside of the campus.

STUDENT 4: I start to think, “What if this would happen?”

ERIC OLSON: It really brought the reality of the situation to us, I think.

STUDENT 4: This is my 10th one, so… But the weird thing is, it gets me every time.

STUDENT 5: This kind of emergency training should not need to happen in our schools. Since the massacre at Columbine High School, more than 150,000 students, in at least 170 elementary, middle and high schools, have experienced a shooting. Too many have died, been injured, and 40 percent develop post-traumatic stress disorder. This senseless gun violence reigns terror in our schools, on our streets and in our homes. Every day, on average, 96 Americans die, and seven of those lives are children and teens. At least 40 percent of young people in cities say that they have witnessed a shooting. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely that the woman will be killed. This is an epidemic. And this is why we march. Enough is enough. It’s time for a change. Never again.

DEMI LOVATO: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for having me. And I’m so excited to be here with all of you, sharing our voices, so we can be heard together.

[Demi Lovato performing “Skyscraper”]

DEMI LOVATO: MSD Strong! Thank you.

DANA LOESCH: We’ve had enough of the lies.

DANA LOESCH AND SARAH CHADWICK: The sanctimony, the hatred, the pettiness.

DANA LOESCH: The arrogance.

SARAH CHADWICK: The ignorance.

DANA LOESCH: The fake news.


DANA LOESCH: We are done with your agenda to undermine voters’ will and individual liberty in America.

SARAH CHADWICK: We are done with your agenda to undermine the safety of our nation’s youth and the individual voices of the American people.

DANA LOESCH: So, to every lying member of the media.

SARAH CHADWICK: To everyone with an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association.

DANA LOESCH: To the role model athletes who use their free speech to alter and undermine what our flag represents.

SARAH CHADWICK: To every spokeswoman with an hourglass who uses their free speech to alter and undermine what our flag represents.

DANA LOESCH: To the politicians who would rather watch America burn than lose one ounce of their own personal power.

SARAH CHADWICK: To the politicians who would rather watch America’s youth die than get assault rifles off the shelves.

DANA LOESCH: To those who stain honest reporting with partisanship.

SARAH CHADWICK: To those who call high school students paid crisis actors and refuse to listen.

DANA LOESCH: Your time is running out.

SARAH CHADWICK: Your time is running out.

DANA LOESCH: The clock starts now.

SARAH CHADWICK: The clock starts now.

SARAH CHADWICK: Hello, everyone. My name is Sarah Chadwick, and I’m a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This here, $1.05. 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’re 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 that believe that their right to own 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 just don’t care about us. We are fighting. We have been fighting. We’ve been fighting since Columbine, since Sandy Hook, since Pulse, since—since Las Vegas. And we will continue to fight, until we put a stop to gun violence in America, because we are no longer a statistic in this country. We will not read treated like a statistic in this country. My school, Pulse, every other mass shooting will no longer be a statistic, because we’re going to put an end to those statistics. And we will never stop fighting. Thank you.

CROWD: Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out!

EDNA LIZBETH CHÁVEZ: Hola, buenas tardes. My name is Edna Lizbeth Chávez, and I am from South Los Angeles, California, el sur de Los Ángeles. I am a 17-year-old senior at Manual Arts High School and a member of an organization called Community Coalition, where I am a youth leader at South Central Youth Empowered Thru Action. At Community Coalition, we organize high school students to develop their leadership skills in order to push for educational justice in our communities. 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 L.A. my entire life and have lost many loved ones to gun violence. This is normal, normal to the point that I have learned 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. You hear pops, thinking they’re fireworks. They weren’t pops. You see the melanin on your brother’s skin turn gray. Ricardo was his name. Can y’all say it with me?

CROWD: Ricardo! Ricardo! Ricardo! Ricardo! Ricardo! Ricardo! Ricardo! Ricardo! Ricardo!

EDNA LIZBETH CHÁVEZ: 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 the bullet did not kill me, that anxiety and that trauma will. I carry that trauma everywhere I go. I carry it with me in schools, in class, walking home and visiting loved ones.

And I am not alone in this experience. For decades, my community of South Los Angeles has become accustomed to this violence. It is normal to see candles. It is normal to see posters. It is normal to see balloons. It is normal to see flowers honoring the lives of black and brown youth that have lost their lives to a bullet.

How can we cope with it, when our school district has its own police department? Instead of making black and brown students feel safe, they continue to profile and criminalize us. Instead, we should have a department specializing in restorative justice. We need to tackle the root causes of the issues we face, and come to an understanding on how to resolve them.

I am here to honor the Florida students that lost their lives and to stand with the Parkland students. I am here, today, to honor Ricardo. I am here today to honor Stephon Clark. I am here today to uplift my South L.A. community!

Enough is enough. 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 mentorship programs, mental health resources, paid internship and job opportunities. My brother, like many others, would have benefited from this. So let’s make it happen. It’s important 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. This has not, and shall not, stop us. It has only empowered us.

Mi nombre, my name, is Edna Lizbeth Chávez. Remember my name. Remember these faces. Remember us and how we’re making a change. La lucha sigue. Gracias y bendiciones.

ALEX WIND: My name is Alex Wind. I’m a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In the wake of the tragedy on February 14th, we, as students, as youths, 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 youths 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 can’t do anything, I say that we were the only people that could have made this movement possible.

Together, we will use our voices to make sure that our schools, churches, movie theaters and concerts, and our streets become safer, without having them feel like prisons. If teachers start packing heat, are they going to arm our pastors, ministers and rabbis? Are they going to arm the guy scanning tickets at the movie theater? Are they going to 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’re 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.

As teens, people think that we don’t like to wait around for things. And they’re sometimes right. A lot of you are probably wondering, “What now?” Now, we need to come together on all fronts and push aside those that divide us. Now we need to get on the phone and call our representatives and push them to stop incumbency and take action. Now we need to educate ourselves on which politicians are truly 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 most certainly is not about political party. All it comes down to is life or death.

To all the politicians out there, if you take money from the NRA, you have chosen death. If you have not expressed to your constituents a public stance on this issue, you have chosen death. If you do not stand with us by saying, “We need to pass commonsense gun legislation,” you have chosen death. And none of the millions of people marching in this country today will stop, until they see those against us out of office, because we choose life! Thank you. I love you all!

NARRATOR: Ninety-seven percent of American voters want universal background checks for gun sales. People can buy weapons of war from the back of an SUV, and no one is checking as to whether or not they have a restraining order, criminal record or a history of violence. An estimated 22 percent of all gun transfers take place without a background check. In the states that go beyond federal law and require background checks for all handgun sales, there are 47 percent fewer women shot by intimate partners, 47 percent fewer suicides and 53 percent fewer law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Waiting periods work, too. And new red flag laws create a way for family members and law enforcement to keep guns away from someone who shows warning signs of violence. Let’s do this. Enough is enough. It’s time for a change. Never again.

[Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt performing “Found/Tonight”]

[End of Hour 1]

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: We love you. Don’t give up.

BEN PLATT: Thank you. Enough is enough.

CROWD: Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out!

ZION KELLY: Hello, everyone. My name is Zion Kelly, and I’m a senior at Thurgood Marshall Academy here in Washington, D.C. I’m here to represent the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of students who live every day in constant paranoia and fear on their way to and from school.

At this moment, please raise your hand if you have been affected by gun violence, to honor the ones you have lost. Today, I raise my hand in honor of my twin brother, Zaire Kelly. Zaire was shot on September 20th, 2017, on his way home from a competitive college counseling after-school program called College Bound. Zaire had the personality that would light up the room. He was energetic and full of dreams and aspirations. He was our team captain on the track team. He was running for student government president, and he was a youth councilmember. He aspired to be a forensic scientist and attend Florida A&M University for undergrad. Zaire was also the best dresser I knew, with the most style. He was a person, a leader, an inspirer, not just another statistic.

I was in contact with Zaire while he was walking home, texting him and calling him all through the night. About 20 to 30 minutes went by, and I became worried, because the walk alone doesn’t even take 30 minutes. I left my room to ask my mom where he was, until I saw flashing blue and red lights outside my window. I told my parents that there were police cars and an ambulance on our street. We rushed outside, discovering that it was Zaire.

That night, on September 20th, a robber with a gun was lurking on my streets for hours. On my way—on my walk home, he attempted to rob me, but I ran. Though he had an ankle monitor on and he was supposed to be monitored by the police, he was still able to obtain a gun illegally and lurk in my streets and take my brother’s life. He shot my brother in the head. Once we arrived to the hospital, he was pronounced dead.

From the time we were born, we shared everything, including issues. I spent time with him every day, because we went to the same school, shared the same friends, and we even shared the same room. Can you imagine how it would be to lose someone that close to you? Sadly, too many of my friends and peers can. This school year alone, my school lost two students to senseless gun violence: Paris Brown and my brother Zaire Kelly. This year alone, in January, there were six students killed, under the age of 19, by guns here in Washington, D.C.

In my brother’s name, my family is proposing the Zaire Kelly Public Safety Zone Amendment 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 will be defined by any person enrolled in a public and private day care center, elementary school, vocational school, secondary school—excuse me—a college, junior college and university. It expands gun-free zones to include recreation centers. This amendment means that every student in Washington, D.C., would 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: First off, I’m going to start off by putting this price tag right here as a reminder for you guys to know how much Marco Rubio took for every student’s life in Florida: one dollar and five cents. OK.

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 percent of the time in midterm elections. Not anymore. Now, who here is going to vote in the 2018 election? If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking. They have gotten used to being protective of their position, through the safety of inaction. Inaction is no longer safe, and to that, we say, “No more.”

Ninety-six people—96 people die every day from guns in our country, yet most representatives have no public stance on guns. And to that, we say, “No more!” We are going to make this the voting issue. We are going to take this to every election, to every state and every city. We’re going to make sure the best people get in our elections to run, not as politicians, but as Americans, because this—this is not cutting it.

When people try to suppress your vote, and there are people who stand against you because you’re too young, we say, “No more!” When politicians say that your voice doesn’t matter because the NRA owns them, we say, “No more!” When politicians send their thoughts and prayers with no action, we say, “No more!” And to those politicians supported by the NRA that allow the continued slaughter of our children and our future, I say, “Get your résumés ready.” Today is the beginning of spring, and tomorrow is the beginning of democracy.

Now is the time to come together, not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans, Americans of the same flesh and blood, that care about one thing and one thing only, and that’s the future of this country and the children that are going to lead it. Now, they will try to separate us in demographics. 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 public servants that only serve the gun lobby. And we will save lives! You are those heroes.

Lastly, let’s put the U.S.A. over the NRA. This is the start of the spring and the blossoming of our democracy. So let’s take this to our local legislators, and let’s take this to midterm elections, because without the persistent heat, without the persistence of voters and Americans everywhere getting out to every election, democracy will not flourish. But it can, and it will. So, I say—to those politicians that say change will not come, I say we will not stop until every man, every woman, every child and every American can live without fear of gun violence. And to that I say, “No more!” Thank you! I love you all! God bless all of you, and God bless America. We can, and we will, change the world.

CROWD: No more! No more! No more! No more! No more! No more! No more! No more! No more! No more! No more! No more! No more! No more!

NAOMI WADLER: Hi. My name is Naomi, and I’m 11 years old. Me and my friend Carter led a walkout at our elementary school on the 14th. We walked out—we walked out for 18 minutes, adding a minute to honor Courtlin Arrington, an African-American girl who was the victim of gun violence in her school in Alabama after the Parkland shooting.

I am here today to represent Courtlin Arrington. I am here today to represent Hadiya Pendleton. I am here today to represent Taiyania Thompson, who, at just 16, was shot dead in her home here in Washington, D.C. 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 are 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 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. I am here to say that everyone should value those girls, too.

People have said that I am too young to have these thoughts 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 seven short years until we, too, have the right to vote.

So I am here today to honor the words of Toni Morrison: “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” I urge everyone here and everyone who hears my voice to join me in telling the stories that aren’t told, to honor the girls, the women of color who are murdered at disproportionate rates in this nation. I urge each of you to help me write the narrative for this world and understand, so that these girls and women are never forgotten. Thank you.

NARRATOR: Look, it’s really hard to get your driver’s license, adopt a pet or get a credit card. But if you’re 18, and you want to go out and buy an AR-15, in too many states, that’s no problem. Go to a gun show in about 32 states, and you can have one in about one hour. We can’t even buy a beer until we’re 21. That makes no sense. These semiautomatic weapons were designed for war, not to hunt or shoot clays. They aren’t cool toys. They’re designed to kill people. Eleven mass shootings were committed by men 21 and under. Many used handguns with huge rounds of ammo, and two used an AR-15. By raising the buying age to 21, we might have saved those lives. Enough is enough. It is time for a change. Never again.

MYA MIDDLETON: Hi. I’m Mya, and I’m 16 years old, and I’m in a creative writing program through After School Matters in Chicago. I just wanted to take this time and personally thank all of you for coming out here and letting me share this amazing opportunity with you guys. Thank you so much.

I’m here because I have been personally affected by the lack of gun control, and I believe guns have taken over the minds of individuals who want an easy way out of their dilemma. Chicago goes through this every day, and you don’t realize how much of a toll it is taking on our city, until you see it in our communities, you see it on someone you know, you see it on someone like me.

Freshman year in high school, I wanted to get some things from the store for my mom, because she was sick. I remember pulling on all these clothes and going out in 10-or-so-degree weather. It was so cold. Get to the store, grabbing all this stuff, thinking, “Maybe she needs this, maybe she needs that,” and finally getting into line.

This guy in front of me all of a sudden gets upset because he didn’t have enough money to pay for the things that he wanted to buy. He gets out of line and starts trashing the store, throwing everything over the floor, pushing carts, just making a fool out of himself.

So, finally, when I check out, I walk to the door, and I’m ready to go, when I hear a scream and a bang. I turn around and see he’s grabbing all this stuff, pushing it into every crevice of his body, trying to grab 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 said anything, I will find you.” And yet I’m still saying something today.

Guns have long scared our children, corrupted our adults and publicly silenced our government. Guns have become the voice of America, and the government is becoming more negligent by this predicament by the day. Join me in sharing my pain and my anger. Help us by screaming to the government that we are tired of crying for help to a group of people that have turned their backs on us, despite their reassurance of making our country safer. Help us by screaming as loud as you can that we’re tired of being forced under the rug. We’re tired of seeing the faces of victims exposed on screens who were stolen from us too fast to even understand what and why it happened. Help us by sharing our stories to those who turn a blind eye and became deaf to our pleas for control. Help us by honoring those who will never have a chance to contribute the turn of our nation. Help us by vociferating the voices of those who are too oppressed to even speak for themselves.

Together, we can make sure that 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, and we must act upon this civil-inflicted war while we still can. The new generation depends on our actions, and we must deliver them effectively and as one. We are the turn of this century. We are the voice for change. We are the pieces to fix what America is falling short on. Make it happen!

CROWD: Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out!

VIC MENSA: This song is dedicated to Stephon Clark, Decynthia Clements and all the unarmed black men and women killed by police weapons. Until all of us are free, none of us will be free.

[Vic Mensa performing “We Could Be Free”].

Vic Mensa: Thank you. My name is Vic Mensa.

CROWD: Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out!

MATT POST: Good afternoon. I’m joined by Brenna Levitan, Michael Solomon and Nate Tinbite, founding members of MoCo for Gun Control. My name is Matt Post. I’m a 12th grader and the student member of the board for Montgomery County, Maryland.

You and I gather in a time of moral crisis for our country. We stand at a moment when our nation’s laws are not guided by what is right or wrong, not by what is morally sound for the many, but instead is limited by the insatiable greed of a few. In their greed—in their greed, the gun lobby and their politicians have tried to deflect and distract us. They have tried to twist what is so 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 in 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 politics are sick with soullessness. But make no mistake: We are the cure. Where they choose incrementalism, we choose real change. Where they embrace an extremism of complacency, we embrace an extremism of love. Where they believe in the absolutism of an amendment, we believe in the absolutism of human life.

It won’t be easy to change things. The immoral, the obstructionists and the complicit are already lining up to block our path. We’re going to have to have some courage to fix this. It’s going to take some will. So, let me ask: Is there a will to keep weapons of war off our streets?


MATT POST: Is there a will to break the stranglehold of the NRA?


MATT POST: Is there a will to bring morality to this country’s politics?


MATT POST: 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, canvas 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. Thank you!

JAKE TAPPER: In the days following the shooting, many students expressed their frustration about one group: the NRA. Dana Loesch is the national spokesperson for the NRA. She is here with us.

DANA LOESCH: They use their media to assassinate real news.

SEAN HANNITY: The left has their rigid, radical, anti-gun agenda.

TOMI LAHREN: I’m so sick of these elitists looking down on gun owners as if we’re just a bunch of rednecks who don’t deserve the right to protect and defend ourselves.

DANA LOESCH: They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler.

ALEX JONES: Hitler took the guns. Stalin took the guns. If you try to take our firearms, doesn’t matter how many lemmings you get out there on the street begging for them to have their guns taken. We will not relinquish them.

DANA LOESCH: They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again.

UNIDENTIFIED: What matters is who the enemy is. They’re the no-gun people, period.

CHARLIE DANIELS: Listen up. You might have met our fresh-faced flower child president and his weak-kneed Ivy League friends.

TED NUGENT: Hey, Obama, you might wanna suck on one of these, ya punk!”

WAYNE LAPIERRE: The only truly free people who have ever walked this Earth have been armed people.

DANA LOESCH: They use their ex-president to endorse the resistance, all to make them march, make them protest, make them scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia, to smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding.

WAYNE LAPIERRE: We see what it’s like to be French, German or Belgian, where innocent people cower in fear as evil closes in, doomed to defend their families with rolling pins and broom handles.

DANA LOESCH: The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth.

CHARLTON HESTON: From my cold dead hands!

CROWD: Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out!

CHRISTOPHER UNDERWOOD: I want the people who say those words to understand one thing. It won’t be their hands who end up cold, and it won’t be their hands who end up dead. It’s ours, the young people of this country.

Hello, everyone. My name is Christopher Underwood, and I’m 11 years old and a sixth grader at Eagle Academy at Ocean Hill, Brooklyn, New York. I am also a junior ambassador for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

On June 27, 2012, my 14-year-old brother, Akeal Christopher, was shot while walking home from a high school graduation party at his friend’s 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 turned 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?


CHRISTOPHER UNDERWOOD: 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 all as true today as when he was alive. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” And our lives matter. Thank you.

JACLYN CORIN: 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 the 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 affects 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’re here to shake them awake. Each congressman has a local office in their district, so pay them a visit or organize a town hall. They’ll be home for the next two weeks for congressional recess. Have them hear you out, because they work for us! And 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. And 96 deaths by firearm every day is not what I would call great! 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.

So I need each and every one of you, no matter your age, to continue to fight alongside us, because hearts cannot pump without blood, and I don’t 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. Thank you.

I actually have a special guest for you guys, so I’m going to come bring her up.

YOLANDA RENEE KING: My name is Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King. My grandfather had a dream that his four little children will 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 that this should be a gun-free world, period.

Will you please repeat these words after me? Spread the word!

CROWD: Spread the word!

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Have you heard?

CROWD: Have you heard?

YOLANDA RENEE KING: All across the nation!

CROWD: All across the nation!



YOLANDA RENEE KING: Are going to be!

CROWD: Are going to be!

YOLANDA RENEE KING: A great generation!

CROWD: A great generation!

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Now I’d like you say it like you really, really mean it! Spread the word!

CROWD: Spread the word!

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Have you heard?

CROWD: Have you heard?

YOLANDA RENEE KING: All across the nation!

CROWD: All across the nation!



YOLANDA RENEE KING: Are going to be!

CROWD: Are going to be!

YOLANDA RENEE KING: A great generation!

CROWD: A great generation!

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Now I’d like you say it like you really, really mean it, and the whole entire world can hear you! Spread the word!

CROWD: Spread the word!

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Have you heard?

CROWD: Have you heard?

YOLANDA RENEE KING: All across the nation!

CROWD: All across the nation!



YOLANDA RENEE KING: Are going to be!

CROWD: Are going to be!

YOLANDA RENEE KING: A great generation!

CROWD: A great generation!

YOLANDA RENEE KING: Now give yourselves a hand.

CROWD: Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out!

[Miley Cyrus performing “The Climb”].

MILEY CYRUS: Thank you so much, everybody. Thank you for being here. I love you all so much. Never again! You guys are so incredible, and I just find myself lucky to be in the presence of all of you wonderful people fighting for what is right. Love you all so much. Thank you!

NARRATOR: Since 2007, often the weapon of choice for mass shooters is the AR-15 and similar variants. In 2012, one was used to kill 12 people in a movie theater in Colorado and 20 elementary school children and six teachers. In 2015, one took 14 lives in California. In 2017, one contributed to the deaths of 58 concertgoers in Las Vegas and 26 churchgoers in Texas, and, last month, 14 students and three teachers in Florida. None of these deaths should have happened. From 1994 until 2004, we banned assault weapons like the AR-15. During that decade, there were 12 gun massacres, with 89 deaths. In the 10 years after our leaders in Washington failed to extend it, the numbers climbed to 34 mass shootings, with 302 lives lost. Assault weapons are an assault on our futures. Nearly 70 percent of the country supports another ban. Let’s get AR-15s and all assault weapons off the street. Enough is enough. It’s time for a change. Never again.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman. This is Democracy Now!’s live coverage of the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C.

RYAN DEITSCH: I’d like to take it down for a minute here. There might be—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. And 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. And I’d like to make it real for a minute.

February 14th is my sister’s birthday. She had to spend that birthday huddled under a desk holding Lauren Hogg, David’s sister, her hand, hoping that 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 shooter’s eyes. She might have not even seen him or even known who he was, but he affected her life just as much as everybody else who’s spoken on this stage today.

And I know a lot of people—a lot of people are out there saying that 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. We need to arm them with pencils, pens, paper and the money they need! They need that money to support their families and to support 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, not just some fantasy, not just something painted out there by the public, by the media. We need them to be armed. And there’s only one way to do that: this right here. This right here. This connects you to the whole of human information, the whole of human knowledge. It connects you with the click of a button. You can learn anything that I have learned, anything that we’ve all learned in our journey to this stage right here today. You can learn it just like that. Just go to the website, type it in, and it’s there.

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 been taking place over the past five weeks. And these walkouts have been criticized. They have been told that it is 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! It’s the fact that you can be taking a calculus exam, and then, when you’re doing that, you have in the back of your head the thought that, “Where is the shooter going to enter? When’s he going to come in? Where can I hide?”

We’re done hiding! We are done being afraid! We’re done being full of fear, because it is a waste of our time, and it is not living out what our forefathers, what our Founding Fathers envisioned for this country—life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. And now I know we march today, but this isn’t over. This is the beginning of the end. And from here, we fight. It is time to fight for our lives.

And I say there is only one way to do that. We need to rev up society. We need to rev up the engines. We need to rev up America. And we do that through registering to vote. We need to do that through every single walkout. We will be making sure that you can register to vote, pre-register to vote. Then we will educate. We will be going around the country until these elections, and therefore after, until we can tell every man, woman and child in this country what is real, what is going on. And we need to make sure that everyone knows what is actually happening in their backyard and abroad.

So we will register, we will educate, and then, when it comes down to it, we will vote. They might preach NRA, they might preach G-U-N, but we’re preaching R-E-V: Register, educate, vote! Thank you. And hello, Uncle Myron.

AALAYAH EASTMOND: Hi. My name is Aalayah Eastmond, 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, named Nicholas Dworet, it would have been his 18th birthday today, and I dedicate my march to him.

But I’m 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. Their voices are just as important as ours, and they need to be heard. This is a very important subject, and it needs to change.

Although it’s been 38 days since the Parkland shooting, nothing has changed. And we need change now. This cannot happen again. And it’s going to continue to happen again until we get change. How many more do we need? How many more do we need in schools? How many more do we need in the streets? We need change now, not only in schools, but in urban communities, as well. 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.

Fifteen years ago, I lost my uncle Patrick to gun violence in Brooklyn, New York. My mother almost lost her daughter to the same gun violence in Parkland, Florida. This needs to change. We’ve been fighting for this way too long, and nothing has changed, and we need change now! Yes, I am a Parkland survivor and an MSD student. But before this, I was a regular black girl, and after this, I am still black, and I am still regular, and I will fight for all of us!

SAMANTHA FUENTES: Hello, beautiful people of America! It is a great day to be here, and it’s a great day to see all of you here, and I am proud of each and every one of you. And the truth is, I am not here for me, I am here for you. So, you don’t ever have to fear of getting shot in your own classroom. You don’t ever have to wonder if you have to see your best friend die next to you. 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 this is why—oh, my god—and this is why this piece is called “Enough!” 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, we’re scolded that 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 can’t look me in the eye.

I just threw up on international television, and it feels great!

We’re not asking for a ban, we’re 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 methods that are efficient.

And one more request: Listen. Our mission is simple, and our ambitions are 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—either you can join us or be on the side of history who 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 and address our struggles. Let’s 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?

And I have one more request. Today is March 24th, March for Our Lives. But it is also the birthday of Nick Dworet, someone that was senselessly murdered in front of me. Today is his birthday. I would like to sing together “Happy Birthday.” One, two, three…

[Samantha Fuentes and crowd singing “Happy Birthday”].

SAMANTHA FUENTES: Thank you! Stay beautiful!

[End of Hour 2]

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman. This is Democracy Now!’s live coverage of the March for Our Lives in Washington D.C., a special 4-hour broadcast.

SPECIALIST LAHAYE: I served in the U.S. Army.

PETTY OFFICER WILLIAMS: I served in the Navy.


SERGEANT BELL: Marine Corps. Oorah.

CORPORAL AIKEN: I was a 31 Bravo military police officer.

SENIOR AIRMAN RICE: Security Forces.




SPECIALIST DELT: I was stationed at Camp Anaconda in Iraq.



STAFF SERGEANT SASO: My service weapon was an M4 assault rifle.

AIRMAN BAETZEL: My service weapon was an M16.

CORPORAL AIKEN: It’s basically the same. You know what? It is the same.


CORPORAL HENDERSON: The same weapon that’s killed hundreds of people, in the deadliest mass shootings in America.

SENIOR AIRMAN RICE: I know the power of this weapon firsthand.



AIRMAN BAETZEL: And there is no reason.



CORPORAL AIKEN: Why anyone other than military and law enforcement should have an assault weapon like this.

SPECIALIST DELT: I fought for this country.

CORPORAL WILLIAMS: I believe in the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.

PETTY OFFICER WILLIAMS: But that was created 200 years ago.

CAPTAIN VERNIER: Guns have changed a lot since then.

CORPORAL AIKEN: High-powered, rapid-fire assault rifles like the AR-15 are meant for one thing.



SPECIALIST PARKER: That’s not something I want in my country.

CORPORAL AIKEN: My name is Corporal Aiken.

SPECIALIST LAHAYE: My name is Specialist Lahaye.

PETTY OFFICER SECOND CLASS DAY: Petty Officer Second Class Day.

CORPORAL WILLIAMS: Corporal Williams.

SERGEANT YEN: Sergeant Yen.

AIRMAN BAETZEL: Airman Baetzel.

STAFF SERGEANT HAUSMANN: Staff Sergeant Hausmann.

CORPORAL HENDERSON: Corporal Henderson.

STAFF SERGEANT SASO: Staff Sergeant Saso.


SPECIALIST DELT: Specialist Delt.

CAPTAIN VERNIER: Captain Vernier.

SENIOR AIRMAN RICE: Senior Airman Rice.

SPECIALIST PARKER: Specialist Parker.

PETTY OFFICER WILLIAMS: Petty Officer Williams.

SERGEANT BELL: My name is Sergeant Bell, and I support the ban on military-style assault riles, and safer gun laws in this country.

ARIANA GRANDE: Washington, D.C., what’s up?

[Ariana Grande performing “Be Alright”].

ARIANA GRANDE: Thank you guys so much! This is for these brilliant students here today that are leading this march and to everybody participating. Thank you so much for fighting for change and for love and safety and for our future. I love y’all so much. Thank you.

ALEX KING: Good afternoon, family. Yes, I said family. I said family because we are here joined together in unity fighting for the same goals. I say family because of all the pain that I see in the crowd. And that pain is another reason why we are here. Our pain makes us family. Us hurting together brings us closer together to fight for something better.

My name is Alex King. I’m 17. I am a senior at North Lawndale College Prep, as well as a peace warrior and a leader with Good Kids Mad City. Chicago has been at the forefront of gun violence for a very long time, with 650 people being murdered in the year of 2017 and 771 being murdered in the year of 2016. But that’s not it. Gun violence travels in places like Florida, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles. It happens nationwide.

I know many—I know many people who have lost loved ones, friends and family, on a regular basis, due to gun violence. My nephew, Daishawn Moore, he was taken away on May 28th in the year of 2017, two 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 affected 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 as 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 that without the proper grassroot 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. So, as I do this, I will ask that you follow me after I say, “Repeat after me.” So it’s this African clap that we do at North Lawndale that shows unity, which is, unity is strength. Look at the numbers here in the crowd today. Do you see this?

So, here’s how it go. First, I will say “one,” and that’s just a simple clap. So when I say “one,” it’s like this: one, [clap], one, [clap], one, [clap], one, [clap]. OK. Now, next, I will say “four,” and how that works is two sets of two. So when I say “four,” it goes like this: four, one-two, one-two [four claps]. Four, one-two, one-two [four claps]. Four, one-two, one-two [four claps]. And now, here’s the tricky part. Now, we’re going to do 10, which is two sets of three, and two sets of two. So, how this goes is when I say “10,” it goes like this. Ten! One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two, one-two [10 claps]. Ten! One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two, one-two [10 claps]. Now y’all think we can do this as a family?


ALEX KING: All right! That’s what I like to hear! Let’s go! One! [clap] One! [clap] One! [clap] One! [clap] Four! [four claps] Four! [four claps] Ten! [10 claps] Ten! [10 claps] I love y’all.

D’ANGELO McDADE: One! [clap] One! [clap] One! [clap] Four! [four claps] Four! [four claps] Ten! [10 claps]

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 now leads me to say that 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 by success. But today, we say, “No more!” I stand before you representing the body of those who have experienced and lost their lives due 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 now make our reality. Ephesians 4:2-3 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with love. Make every count keep its unity of the spirit through peace and love.” For first Peter says, in chapter four, verse eight, “Above all”—you ain’t hearing me—it says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers all wrongdoing.” And for as we—let me hear you say “we”!


D’ANGELO MCDADE: Let me hear you say “we”!


D’ANGELO MCDADE: As youth, must now be the change that we see. My mother 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: Hello. My name is Matthew Soto. And 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 OK. We do not have to live like this. To my fellow students, it is our 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 fourth grade when my sister was murdered are now freshmen in high school. Five years ago, this happened. Five 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. 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: My name is Tommy Murray. I’m a junior at Newtown High School. I live in Sandy Hook, and I attended the Sandy Hook Elementary School when I was in first grade to fourth grade. I was in sixth grade on lockdown for hours and hours, when my neighbor shot his mother in her bed, then gunned down 20 children and six 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 the 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.

JACKSON MITTLEMAN: My name is Jackson Mittleman, and I’m also a junior at Newtown High School. 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 lockdown for five hours on 12/14/12, the worst day of my life.

The Sandy Hook mass shooting should have 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 five 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 a tragedy that could have 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 their 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’d better bring that check to the bank and put it in your retirement fund, because we’re going to vote you out! And now I’d like to introduce a Newtown and Parkland demand for change.

CROWD: Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out!

JACKSON MITTLEMAN: Newtown wants change. Parkland wants change. The world wants change. Give it to us now!

MALALA YOUSAFZAI: My journey as an activist began just like many of you here. I witnessed injustice and violence in my community, and I spoke out. Today, you march, because you, too, are witnesses to Stoneman Douglas, to Sandy Hook, to Virginia Tech and to Columbine. To every friend, parent, sister or brother who lost a loved one, my heart is with you. And though I can’t be there with you today, I stand with you. I already talked to some of the students who organized this march today. Now, I want to talk to the rest of you, to everyone listening today. I hope that you will ask these student leaders how you can help them. They need other students, teachers, parents and leaders to walk together to end gun violence in schools. Whatever your politics, I know that no one wants another child to witness what these children have seen. Thank you.

SAWYER GARRITY: Hi. My name is Sawyer.

ANDREA PEÑA: My name is Andrea.

SAWYER GARRITY: And we are survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and we also wrote the song “Shine.”

ANDREA PEÑA: This song is not only dedicated to the 17 and 14 injured—the 17 victims that we lost. It’s dedicated to all of their friends and family and to anyone who’s ever experienced gun violence.

SAWYER GARRITY: Together, we are going to be the change. We are going to change the world. Thank you.

[Sawyer Garrity, Andrea Peña and Stoneman Douglas Drama Club performing “Shine”]


NARRATOR: To all the people who are telling us to shut up, be quiet, wait your turn, we call BS. There are about 31 million young people between the ages of 19 and 25. If we all register to vote at 18 and show up on Election Day, then we can make the change we call for today. Commonsense measures work. Let’s make background checks universal, stop the pipeline of illegal guns to our streets, raise the age of buying a gun, and save lives. Let’s make waiting periods real and stop the epidemic of nearly 22,000 suicides per year and ban assault weapons that have no place in civilian hands. We are in the March for Our Lives, and we won’t stop until we make this country safer. The adults had their chance. Now it’s our turn. Enough is enough. It’s time for a change. Never again.

EMMA GONZÁLEZ: Six minutes and about 20 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 long 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, I’ll tell you where it went: right into the ground, six feet deep.

Six minutes and 20 seconds with an AR-15, and my friend Carmen would never complain to me about piano practice. Aaron Feis would never call Kyra “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… Meadow Pollack would never…

[long silence]

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman. This is Democracy Now!’s live coverage of the March for Our Lives in Washington D.C., a special 4-hour broadcast. [broadcast ID repeats three times]

[long silence]

CROWD: Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again! Never again!

EMMA GONZÁLEZ: Since the time that I came out here, it has been six minutes and 20 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. Fight for your lives, before it’s someone else’s job.

CROWD: Emma! Emma! Emma! Emma! Emma! Emma! Emma! Emma! Emma! Emma! Emma! Emma! Emma! Emma! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!

[Jennifer Hudson, featuring The Destiny Road Singers, performing “The Times They Are a-Changin’”]

EMMA GONZÁLEZ: Is this mic working? Nice. OK, cool. We want to thank you guys for coming out here. And we would not be here without you. There is no way in hell that we could ever have amounted to anything without the support of you guys. We all know what this is like, and it’s up to us to stop it. So, one last final plug: Get out there and vote. Get out there, get registered. And if—yeah, go right ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED: We are united. We are called the United States of America for that reason. Together, we are whole. Together, we are one. Look to your left, look to your right. Brothers and sisters is what I see. Together, we unite to make a whole. Congress, politicians, you are the parents. Hear your children cry, “We want to come home.” We want home. Whole home. Make our home well. Make our home prosperous. Make our generation the generation that fights. Make the generation that is change. We are the change. Look at us. Look at your children. Your children are the one fighting for the rights, because they’re fighting for their life to survive. We are here today for the survival fact that no more. No bloodshed due to the fact of a metal machine made by a human, triggered by a human. Guns only serve one purpose: to take a life. They don’t spare. They don’t protect. They take lives. When you stare at a gun, you know it’s your end. We are saying no more. We are here to say, we are United States of America, and we are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. United America! We are united!

EDNA CHÁVEZ: La luche sigue, y’all. ¡Para la gente! For our people! ¡La luche sigue! We will not stop. We shall not stop. We are magical. Somos poderosos. We are—we are magic. We are power. La gente, bro. La gente.

DAVID HOGG: As one last important note, I think it’s important that we realize we are—just like we are all Americans, we are all susceptible to the same corruption and greed, regardless of who you are or where you come from. So, what we have here, what is constantly being sowed, are the seeds of corruption. But it’s our job, as the democracy, to ensure that those seeds never sprout. But the only way you can do that is by getting out and voting. If not for me, for everybody else on this stage and every single American child out there. Vote for us, vote for our future, and help us fight for our lives at MarchForOurLives.com.

CAMERON KASKY: Hey, everyone. Thank you all for coming today. If you look around, you are surrounded by the people who will be making this country a better place and who will be making it easier to sleep at night, easier to wake up in the morning and go to school, and easier to be Americans. So to all of you who are assisting us in the fight for change, thank you. Thank you all. And the fight begins today, and it will not end until we get what we need. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman. This is Democracy Now!'s live coverage of the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., a special 4-hour broadcast. You've just been watching the March for Our Lives, Democracy Now!'s global broadcast here in Washington, D.C. The city, it's teeming with young people. Hundreds of thousands of young people, their families, their supporters have come to the nation’s capital saying, “Never again.” They’re talking about themselves as the “mass shooting generation,” and they say they want it to stop. And so they’ve brought their concerns to the capital. They’re not far from President Trump’s residence, the White House, but he is golfing at his private resort in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.

I’m Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! And for the next hour, we’re going to bring you the voices of the people who have come to this city. But it’s not only this city. People have gathered for sibling rallies all over the country, and we’re going to bring you some of those voices, as well. But first, we want to go to ground zero, to the student survivors. And that’s where we are going to begin. We’re going to begin with a young man who came to remember his dearest, closest family friend. He grew up with him. He went on vacations with him. He was never without Joaquin. But we’ll let him tell his story.

JULIEN DECOSTE: My name is Julien Decoste. I’m from Parkland, Florida. And we’re here to make a change today, especially for my brother, who passed in the shooting. So everything we do is for him and all the other 17 who passed, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us who your brother was, Julien.

JULIEN DECOSTE: Joaquin Oliver. He was really close to me, and we’ve been together since third grade. And I still love him, and I know he’s up there watching over us, and we’re going to do this for you.

AMY GOODMAN: How old was he?

JULIEN DECOSTE: He was 17 years old.

AMY GOODMAN: And how did he die at Parkland?

JULIEN DECOSTE: By the shooting that happened at our school, in the freshman building.

AMY GOODMAN: Which class was he in?

JULIEN DECOSTE: He was in Ms. Lippel’s room, but he ran out the building, because the fire alarm went off.

AMY GOODMAN: And where were you?

JULIEN DECOSTE: I was across the school in a support room, but you could hear the gunshots from across the school. It was so loud.

AMY GOODMAN: You and your fellow and sister students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have launched a massive movement. Talk about how you feel today at this March for Our Lives. Millions are expected to be marching all over the country, hundreds of thousands here in Washington, D.C., alone.

JULIEN DECOSTE: It’s crazy that we did this and sparked this big movement that everybody is doing in the country, and even out of our country, and that we’re going to make a change, and that this march is just a start for us.

AMY GOODMAN: What are you calling for?

JULIEN DECOSTE: Gun laws, gun restriction and to have a safer place for us for school, that we shouldn’t have to worry about anything when we go to school. We should be able to go to school or just go out and not have to worry about dying by a gun.

AMY GOODMAN: And how do you feel when the NRA says guns aren’t the issue, it’s people who fire the guns?

JULIEN DECOSTE: That’s ridiculous, because without the gun, they can’t kill anybody. So, it doesn’t matter about the people. It’s about the gun. And especially guns of war that are distributed just to anybody is ridiculous.

AMY GOODMAN: You’re taking on one of the most powerful special interests in this country, the National Rifle Association. Do you feel you’ve had success even in this month since the massacre at your school?

JULIEN DECOSTE: Yeah, one of their actual associates, Governor Rick Scott, he changed the law to 21. They weren’t happy about it, but we’re making some change. Little at a time, but we can do it.

AMY GOODMAN: How did that make you feel when the Florida Legislature, which was clearly not favorable towards gun control, voted on some gun control measures, like saying you can’t get an assault weapon before you’re 21?

JULIEN DECOSTE: It shows that they hear us, and they’re scared, so we’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing, and keep it 'til it's all done.

AMY GOODMAN: How was it, going back to school?

JULIEN DECOSTE: It’s hard. It’s like kind of like a weird feeling. It feels empty. A lot of police and stuff at our school. But we just go to class. Our teachers help us, and we just get through it together.

[End of Hour 3]

AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think about President Trump calling for arming the teachers?

JULIEN DECOSTE: I don’t think that’s a good idea, because I’ve seen teachers spaz on a couple students, and it wouldn’t be good with a gun and teachers. They don’t mix together. Let’s keep it at teachers, and have police around the campus and stuff like that. Just safen up the school, and I think we’ll be fine. Teachers armed is not a good idea.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about your T-shirt. It says?

JULIEN DECOSTE: It says, “Change the Ref.” It’s an organization that my brother’s father made. And it’s about empowering the young people, and that the young people have a voice, and that we’re going to change the ref by making everything fair. Nothing has to do with money coming in. It’s all fair, and it’s a fair game.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you want us to remember about Joaquin and how you grew up with him all your life?

JULIEN DECOSTE: He was a beautiful soul and a beautiful person, and he was always happy. And I love him, and I miss him dearly.

AMY GOODMAN: And after today, what are your plans?

JULIEN DECOSTE: Go back to school, get set and then start my life, and healing still and just doing everything I can to get through with everything, and just keep trying to make change with my friends.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you feel like when violence occurs in whiter communities, it’s dealt with differently than in communities of color?

JULIEN DECOSTE: I can see where that’s coming from, yes. But we just have like a lot more people. We were the ones that like started talking a lot more than other, what happened back then. Like in Columbine, they didn’t have social media like we did and stuff. So like we’re a louder voice. We have several kids at our school who are tweeting, and then the whole world sees it. So, we have a bigger voice. But I feel like it should be equal all around, and that even in Chicago, they should have the same support that we do here.

AMY GOODMAN: Is this issue of gun control and ending violence going to be a major issue in your life, do you feel, for the rest of your life?

JULIEN DECOSTE: Not if we change it. If it changes, then I won’t have to be worried about gun violence at all. Second Amendment, you’re allowed to have your gun, but guns of war is just not tolerable. Like a pistol? OK, I understand, to protect your home. But an assault rifle? That’s not to protect—that’s just like—that’s just war and destruction.

ROBYN THOMAS: I’m Robyn Thomas. I’m the executive director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about why you’re here.

ROBYN THOMAS: So, our organization was founded originally 25 years ago, after a mass shooting in a law firm in San Francisco. And a few years ago, we merged with Gabby Giffords’ lobbying organization. Our purpose is to save lives, to prevent gun violence in America through smart, sane, effective gun policies, backed by research, to change the dynamic in this country so that legislatures and legislators follow their conscience, do the right thing and pass laws that can protect our children and protect our communities.

AMY GOODMAN: For people who aren’t familiar with what happened to Congressmember Gabby Giffords, tell us her story.

ROBYN THOMAS: So, Gabby was at a Congress on Your Corner event at a Safeway in Tucson, and a young man, who was obviously going through a crisis, went to the Safeway with some assault weapons and shot a whole lot of people, including Gabby, in the head, in front of the Safeway. She survived the shooting; she does have lifelong injuries. And while she resigned her position in Congress, she has devoted her life to fighting gun violence and to bringing change to this country so we can have a safer America, and that other people don’t have to suffer in the way that she did.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about how many people died that day—in fact, news reports were that Gabby Giffords had died—and what weapons that young man had.

ROBYN THOMAS: So, he had assault rifles that are similar to almost all of the weapons that are used in these mass shootings. One of the things that was interesting about what happened in Tucson is that it was when the shooter had to reload his weapon, when his large-capacity ammunition magazine, which held 33 rounds, was completed, and he had to take it out and put the new clip in, that’s when they were able to tackle him and stop the shooting. Had there been no such thing as large-capacity ammunition magazines, he would only have been able to maybe get 10 shots off, and then would have been stopped, and many lives could have been saved.

So, when you look at the story of what happened, it tells us a lot about the problem in this country—the gun itself, the large-capacity ammunition magazine. There was also a man in the Safeway who was armed. A concealed-carry individual who had a gun on him heard the shooting, ran out of the Safeway and almost shot the hero, who had tackled the gunman to the ground. Thankfully, he didn’t pull the trigger, and that didn’t happen, but it also speaks to this ridiculous fallacy about a good guy with a gun stopping these shootings. It’s never that way. There’s never been a mass shooting stopped by an armed civilian. And this story of what happened to Gabby and an armed civilian in the Safeway is a perfect example of why that fallacy to sell more guns, to have more guns in our society, which will only lead to more gun death, is an absurdity.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about what you are demanding, what the Giffords Center wants to see now.

ROBYN THOMAS: We want to see comprehensive gun reform. You look at states like California, where we have very comprehensive regulation, and gun violence in California has dropped by almost 60 percent in the last 20 years. So, we know that there’s comprehensive reforms, that are backed by research, that work to reduce gun violence, that we’ve put in place already in states like California, New York, Connecticut. We need those laws to be federal. We don’t have border checks in this country, so with weak laws in some states, guns just flow from some states into the states that have stronger gun laws. We need federal regulation, comprehensive regulation, like you have in other countries, in Canada and elsewhere, where there’s a lot of guns, comprehensive regulation and much lower gun death rates.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what has the Congress done? And I want to put this question to Julien, too. You’re here in Washington, D.C., up from Parkland. But, I mean, Julien and his brothers and sisters, students and teachers, got the Florida Legislature, which is known for being pro-gun—

ROBYN THOMAS: Absolutely.

AMY GOODMAN: —to make some changes. What about Congress?

ROBYN THOMAS: Nothing has happened. It’s astounding. Ninety-seven percent of Americans support universal background checks, and our Congress doesn’t do it. I mean, it’s sort of mind-boggling that this government, our government, chooses to do absolutely nothing after Sandy Hook, after Pulse nightclub, after Las Vegas, after Parkland. They do nothing. They sort of act like deer in the headlights, like there’s nothing they can do. And it’s not true.


ROBYN THOMAS: Because they take NRA money, and because they’re beholden to—really it’s not gun owners that the NRA represents, it’s the gun industry. The NRA represents the people who want to sell more guns. Every policy the NRA stands for is about more guns in this country. They will not back anything, ever.

AMY GOODMAN: What have you seen happen differently in this month because of what Julien and the other students have done at Parkland? Did you ever think you would see this, in the years that you’ve been working on this issue?

ROBYN THOMAS: I didn’t think that I would, but I certainly hoped and prayed that I would. And it has been incredible. These kids are tireless. They’re assertive. They’re connecting the dots about what’s going on in this country, about NRA money, about the lack of regulation, about the fact that the leaders of this country choose not to protect their lives. They’re protecting guns over the lives of children. And that message, that is coming from the children. They’re not political. They’re not Republicans or Democrats. They’re not entrenched in ideology. They’re just screaming for us to do better to protect their lives and to make this country safer. And I think, for some reason, that message, coming from them after this tragedy, is really hitting the mark in a totally different way than we’ve ever seen before.

AMY GOODMAN: Julien, you could have spent your time mourning, and everyone would respect that. They would have left you alone so that you could be there in private with your family and your loved ones. But you didn’t go that route. Why not?

JULIEN DECOSTE: Because I know Joaquin would want me to be out here and do this for him. He’d want me to get off my butt and do whatever it is to make change in America.

AMY GOODMAN: And what do you say to Congress today? You’re just right down the street from the Capitol, from where Congress meets.

JULIEN DECOSTE: You guys need a reality check, because it’s ridiculous that money is more important than people losing their lives in America every day.

AMY GOODMAN: And again, what is written on your T-shirt?

JULIEN DECOSTE: “Change the Ref.” It’s to empower the young people and have a fair game in America.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Hi. I’m Soledad. I’m with Democracy Now! Can you tell me your name?

ALANA WILLIAMSON: My name’s Alana Williamson.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Your age, please?

ALANA WILLIAMSON: I’m 13 years old.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Are you here with an organization or your school?

ALANA WILLIAMSON: No, I am here with my brother and my mom and my dad.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Why did you guys decide to come here today?

ALANA WILLIAMSON: We decided to come here, because I don’t want to be scared walking into school. I want more gun reform laws. And I just want, all and all, just for people to be safe. And I want just people to live good lives. Like, this isn’t the—this isn’t the America that I wanted to grow up in. I wanted to grow up in an America with peace, not an America where kids are constantly getting killed by assault weapons.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: We’re known as the “mass shooting generation.” How do you think that this has affected our lives?

ALANA WILLIAMSON: I think that that’s—like, the fact that we’re even known as that generation is so disgusting. And I feel that the fact that people even can hold assault weapons in this day and time is just disgusting. They’re not made for—they’re not made for—they’re not made for hunting. They’re made for actual—that’s why they’re called “assault weapons.” They’re made for assaulting people. And that’s not why people should be holding these guns. They shouldn’t be holding them. They shouldn’t be hurting people with these guns.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: What do you hope will be the impact of this march today?

ALANA WILLIAMSON: I just hope that people actually wake up and start to realize what an impact—and, like, what an impact that people are making, how many children are dying from these guns, how many—how many people are just actually starting to wake up and say, “I need to change. We need to change this.” We need to have our Congress and our political leaders wake up.

TENNILLE DECOSTE Tennille Decoste. I’m Julien Decoste’s mother.

AMY GOODMAN: Julien Decoste that day survived the massacre. And—

TENNILLE DECOSTE Thank God. Thank God.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about your feelings, when you heard what was taking place.

TENNILLE DECOSTE Well, I was driving home from a conference, a work conference, from Orlando, and I was in like the Boynton Beach area, and my son calls me crying, whispering, saying, “Mom, I’m in a closet. They’re shooting up the school.” So I just—you know, I became hysterical, called his father, called his sisters. And I didn’t hear from him for about an hour. So, I mean, after we hung up, I told him to put his phone on silent and dim the light. And then I heard from him about an hour later, finally, saying, “I’m OK. I’m being evacuated. The police are here. I’m OK. I’ll meet you at the hotel.” That was it.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you saw him at the hotel?

TENNILLE DECOSTE Thank God, yes. He hugged me, and the first thing he said, not “What happened?” “Where’s Joaquin?” That was his first thing. “Mom, where’s my brother? Where’s Joaquin?” And I said, “I don’t know. We’ll look for him.” And then we found out he passed on, unfortunately.

AMY GOODMAN: So, your families grew up together?

TENNILLE DECOSTE No, they’ve been best friends since third grade, so when we do family trips, Joaquin was always with us. When they did family trips, Julien would go with his family. They’re a beautiful family—mother, father and sister, grandparents. Just beautiful, loving family. Nothing bad I can say about any of them. Just a beautiful—they didn’t deserve this.

AMY GOODMAN: But you all didn’t just hunker down afterwards in your mourning and be together as a family. You reached out, and the students—I mean, Julien and all the other students. Talk about what this has meant, this past month.

TENNILLE DECOSTE It’s important to the students. They have a voice. They’re going to vote. These politicians don’t want to listen, but Parkland and all the other cities and states that went through the shooting, there’s going to be a change. Our students are not going to give up. We’re going to do this march, and it’s going to keep going on and on until change comes.

AMY GOODMAN: And what do you say to those who say, “The NRA has politicians in their pocket; it’s impossible”?

TENNILLE DECOSTE It’s true. They’re receiving money, and everybody knows it. They just need to think about lives, not money, what’s more important to them. But if you don’t, it’s fine, because our students, our children, they’re going to vote. And if you don’t want to help us, you don’t need to be here.

NATALIA RODRIGUEZ: Natalia Rodriguez. I’m a sophomore from Miami. We all from Miami, 305 representing.

AMY GOODMAN: A sophomore in?

NATALIA RODRIGUEZ: Miami Springs Senior High, in high school.

AMY GOODMAN: Uh-huh, and what are you doing here? What does your sign say?

NATALIA RODRIGUEZ: So, we’re supporting Emma. We’re supporting March for Our Lives. We’re here to advocate for commonsense gun laws. I’m here with Students Demand Action, Miami chapter, as well as here with D.C. chapter.

AMY GOODMAN: And tell us—read us your sign and tell us—

NATALIA RODRIGUEZ: We say, “Power to the people.” But students, teachers and women are here representing, and we’re here to make change.

AMY GOODMAN: And you have a picture of Emma González.

NATALIA RODRIGUEZ: Yes, and John Lennon. And we also have different signs. “Power to the Students.”

AMY GOODMAN: And why did you decide on Emma, one of the student survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas?

NATALIA RODRIGUEZ: Her speech was so inspiring. I couldn’t—I didn’t know any other person that would represent what I’m advocating for more.

AMY GOODMAN: And who are you?

GABRIELLE VALDEZ: I am Gabrielle Valdez. I’m from Miami Springs, Florida.

AMY GOODMAN: How old are you?

GABRIELLE VALDEZ: I am 12 years old.

AMY GOODMAN: And why are you out here in Washington, D.C., today?

GABRIELLE VALDEZ: We’re here in Washington, D.C., today to make a change. We need to end gun violence once and for all.

AMY GOODMAN: And can I ask you: As a high school student, what makes you think you can change what people haven’t changed in decades, and taking on one of the most powerful interests, the National Rifle Association?

NATALIA RODRIGUEZ: I feel like the wrong thing hit in the right place this time. And I feel like students are fed up. I feel like the upcoming generation is doing what this generation isn’t. And this generation of politicians isn’t doing what our generation wants. And they’ll listen. If not, we’ll vote them out.

AMY GOODMAN: And do you feel like we treat violence differently in white communities than black and Latino communities?

NATALIA RODRIGUEZ: This has been going on in black communities for forever. And I feel like now that it hit in a white demographic, that now politicians are listening to students and their outspoken words, because it hit where it hit. And I feel like the wrong thing hit in the right place.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you’re right next to Congress. What are you saying they should do?

NATALIA RODRIGUEZ: We’ll vote you out if you don’t agree with us.

AMY GOODMAN: When President Trump says, “Arm the teachers,” your response?

NATALIA RODRIGUEZ: Arm teachers with supplies. We can barely afford papers and pens, and now, all of a sudden, you have the money to arm teachers with guns? I think that teachers aren’t paid the amount of money that they should. And now you’re trying to bear them with arms? I don’t think that that’s a plausible way to do this. I think that that only shows how our country is going in that direction. Very disappointing.


LAURA: Sure. I’m Laura.

ALEX: I’m Alex.

LAURA: We’re from New York, and we’re both teachers.

AMY GOODMAN: Uh-huh. Your sign says, “This teacher says #Enough.”

LAURA: Yes. Yes, because we’ve had enough of this ridiculous, abnormal world we live in, where anybody can buy an AR-15, which is a weapon of war. It’s insane. And what we think—

ALEX: It’s a weapon specifically made to mass murder people. It has no other purpose.

LAURA: Yes. And we think that what’s happening here is that the normal people are coming out and reclaiming our world against the abnormal state of affairs.

AMY GOODMAN: And where do you teach?

LAURA: We teach—we teach in the New York area. I’m at a private school just outside of Queens.

ALEX: And I teach at a school in Lower Manhattan.

AMY GOODMAN: And your thoughts on arming teachers?

LAURA: That’s insane. No one should even be talking about it. Anyone who works in a classroom knows that that is sheer lunacy. Anyone who thinks it’s a good idea either has never worked in a classroom or has no common sense whatsoever.

ALEX: It’s the state’s—it’s the country’s job to pass reasonable laws to ensure public safety. That’s what every government has been doing for the last few centuries. And this is not a science-fiction novel we’re living in. This is the real world, and public policy has to be serious and mature and intelligent.

AMY GOODMAN: Just some of the people in this mass march in Washington, D.C. Yes, this is
Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, and we’re broadcasting live—we’re broadcasting live from the global march in Washington D.C. It’s called the March for Our Lives. And wow! Just now, as people are streaming away from the rally, as people are streaming away from that rally, a group of people have gathered behind us. We are feeling—we’re going to go right now to the tent. This is Democracy Now!'s global live coverage of the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of thousands of people have come to the nation's capital. Some of them came from Chicago.


AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell us your name?

DARLENE JONES: Darlene Jones, from Chicago, Illinois.

AMY GOODMAN: And why are you here?

DARLENE JONES: I’m here to support my son and the movement on stopping the gun violence.

AMY GOODMAN: How old is your son?

DARLENE JONES: My son is 15 years old, Ke’Shon Newman. Ke’Shon Newman, 15 years old.

AMY GOODMAN: And he was on the stage today?


AMY GOODMAN: Now, you’re wearing a little sign. It’s like a ticket. It’s like a price tag, that says $1.05, and under it, it says, “Politicians like Marco Rubio receive millions from the NRA. Don’t put a price on us.” $1.05, per child?


AMY GOODMAN: What are you concerned about in Chicago?

DARLENE JONES: The gun violence, the constant, senseless shooting.

AMY GOODMAN: How bad is it in Chicago?

DARLENE JONES: It’s really bad. We don’t have mass shootings. We have daily shootings.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you feel that the media doesn’t cover communities of color as much as it does when it’s a whiter community?




AMY GOODMAN: Oh, my goodness. So, your name is?

KE’SHON NEWMAN: Ke’Shon Newman.

AMY GOODMAN: Ke’Shon. And tell me about that price tag you have on your wrist.

KE’SHON NEWMAN: This is the price tag to basically say the cost of everyone inside Chicago and—well, not inside Chicago, I’m sorry. Inside of just—everyone.

AMY GOODMAN: So every kid is wearing $1.05.

KE’SHON NEWMAN: Yes. Everyone is worth $1.05, apparently, to—

AMY GOODMAN: What message do you have for Congress today? Your buttons say “Demand Justice” and “March for Our Lives” and “Enough Is Enough.”

KE’SHON NEWMAN: Just want to let them know that you can’t put a price on the lives that we lost and the lives that we could lose if we don’t do everything that we need to do right now. There can be a lot more if we don’t take action.

AMY GOODMAN: And your name?

FATHER MICHAEL PFLEGER: Father Mike Pfleger from St. Sabina in Chicago.

AMY GOODMAN: So, you all came together?


AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the issue in your parish.

FATHER MICHAEL PFLEGER: Well, we live in the South Side of Chicago, where violence is an everyday thing. We live in a trauma center. And we don’t have post-traumatic stress, we have present traumatic stress. Our neighborhood is filled with balloons and teddy bears and yellow police tape and sirens and helicopters. That’s the music for our community. And it’s been ignored and neglected constantly, over and over again. And it’s a shame in Chicago.

We just heard, Amy, the other day, last week, that the United States Navy medics are now sending to Stroger Hospital in Chicago for training, because it’s the closest thing they can find in America to a battlefield.

AMY GOODMAN: Repeat that.

FATHER MICHAEL PFLEGER: United States Navy medics are being sent to Stroger Hospital, the county hospital, in Chicago for some training, because it’s the closest thing they could find in America to a battlefield. How damn ridiculous is that in America? We should be ashamed of that. The governor, the mayor, the president, every elected official should be ashamed of that in this country.

Our black and brown lives don’t matter. And I’m so glad that the people from Parkland—we flew them in last week. They met with our young people for the whole day. And Ke’Shon and others were there. We met with them and said, “We want to connect the dots.” They want to connect the dots with us.

AMY GOODMAN: Ke’Shon, you met with the Parkland students?


AMY GOODMAN: They came to Chicago?

KE’SHON NEWMAN: Yes, for the meeting that we all had. We all came together inside of one room to have the same cause and, you know, show that we support each other in everything that we all do.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask the same question I asked your mom. If you think that when a mass shooting takes place in a white community, it gets more attention than in yours?

KE’SHON NEWMAN: Can you repeat the question?

AMY GOODMAN: When a mass shooting takes place in a white community, that it gets more attention than the daily shootings in your community, do you feel that way?

KE’SHON NEWMAN: Yes, I do feel that way. But at the same time, right now, I’d say that from that shooting that we have now and the shooting that we have every day, there’s still a light that we have. So now we’ve got to use that light to make awareness and have everyone else know the struggle that we all share.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Father, what are you doing in your parish? This—


AMY GOODMAN: This city that is a trauma center, Chicago?

FATHER MICHAEL PFLEGER: Right. Well, we started about seven years ago. We do Friday night walks every night. We hired four ex-gang members, that work full-time on staff. We started a program called Strong Futures, to take 50 at-risk youth and put them into jobs and stability. These are all people with felonies. Here’s what happened. Fifty people with felonies, we spent $6,500 on them—that’s total—in a year, and now 46 of them are working full-time jobs. It’s $42,000 if they go to prison. It’s $110,000 if they get shot. So, people who don’t care about our young people in Chicago, if for no other reason, it’s a business decision to care about our young people. $6,500 is much better than $42,000. We can turn lives around. It’s not that we can’t end this violence. We don’t have the will to end this violence, because the NRA and the politicians care about themselves and care about their lily-white communities, and don’t care about the black and brown West and South sides of Chicago.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you feel like Parkland is helping to pierce the veil even in Chicago?

FATHER MICHAEL PFLEGER: Oh, absolutely. And the Parkland students and Chicago students are united. And we want to unite with Brooklyn. We want to unite with Philly. We want to meet up with South Central. Young people are doing something the adults didn’t do. They’re moving above race. They’re moving above creed and culture and faith. They’re coming together—Jews, Christians, Muslims—bonding together as young people.

And you know what else young people are doing? They’re impatient. They have phones. They want something, they want an answer right now. I love that about our young people. Stay impatient, because the adults have gotten used to this madness in our country. Young people, fight back.

AMY GOODMAN: OK, I see a youth organizer next to you. Tell me your name.

LAMAR JOHNSON: I’m Lamar Johnson.

AMY GOODMAN: Lamar, you’re wearing a March for Our Lives Chicago Strong T-shirt.


AMY GOODMAN: You came all the way from Chicago. Why? And what are you doing with the youth in Chicago?

LAMAR JOHNSON: Well, I came because I’m with the parish of St. Sabina, the youth center that St. Sabina has on the campus. We have a youth group called the BRAVE Youth Leaders out of our youth center, called the ARK of St. Sabina. So, our job is to train young people how to be peacemakers and advocates for their community. That’s the group that Ke’Shon is a part of, along with his peers.

AMY GOODMAN: And do you have hope today?

LAMAR JOHNSON: Yeah, I have hope, because this is the beginning. People think this is the end, but this really is the beginning of a revolution and change. And like they were saying all day, like they have voting power. And I think the Congress is taking these young people for granted, because these are the next voters. And when you take your voters for granted—they’re 16, 17, 18 years old. So the next election season, these are the people that’s going to the booths. So, if they don’t hear them now, they will hear them eventually.

AMY GOODMAN: Ke’Shon, in a few years, are you going to register to vote?

KE’SHON NEWMAN: Yes, I will. I will be sure to get out there and vote. Every vote counts. No matter what you think, that if you vote, even one person can make a difference.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you thinking about running yourself, maybe, for office?

KE’SHON NEWMAN: We’ll see in the future. Just got to keep up the grades for right now.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much for joining us. A delegation of young people, their parents, their father, their reverend, their minister from Chicago. Here we are in Washington, D.C., at the nation’s capital, at the global March for Our Lives.

That’s right, the March for Our Lives. That’s what the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the student survivors of the Valentine’s Day massacre, February 14th, 2018, called this march, saying they would not just hunker down alone, would not just gather with their families and ask for privacy and prayers, that they were going to use this moment to change the world. And that’s exactly what they’ve done.

You know, the speeches ended with David Hogg, as well as Emma González. Emma González, 18-year-old student, who took the stage in Fort Lauderdale. It was just days after the killing, after her friends were killed—14 students, three faculty. And she gave one of the most powerful 11-minute speeches I’ve ever heard.

You know, I’m joined right now—I’m Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!—by Soledad Aguilar-Colón. She is a 16-year-old high school student from New York, Beacon High School, who is a student journalist, came out of IndyKids. It’s great to be working with you today, Soledad.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Thank you so much for having me, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what are your thoughts today, coming from New York? And in a moment, I’ll talk about the people behind us, because on radio you might not be able to see their signs. But there’s a whole group of people that just spontaneously gathered behind us. The signs today were beyond creative, with very powerful messages. Among them, one girl had a sign—she was from Takoma Park, Maryland—that said, “I was voted most likely to protest the NRA.” Anyway, Soledad, your thoughts?

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: And, I mean, you definitely get a lot—as I was walking around, you got so many students. There were a lot of young kids with their parents, kids from ages 6 to 18, protesting with their parents, because they’re scared for their lives, and they don’t feel safe in their schools, which is supposed to be a safe space for us. And so you had a lot of parents who were angry. I mean, there was a march, a Million Moms March, in 2000, and it’s crazy that we still are marching today. And so I think you get a lot of that energy.

AMY GOODMAN: You know, you make such an important point. You know, the police are going through. There are actually tanks in the streets. I will say it was very difficult to get to the front of this march, this rally, what it really was. It was a rally because—let’s see if we can—it’s an ambulance. It was a rally because people couldn’t move. There were so many hundreds of thousands of people here.


AMY GOODMAN: But you talk about the anniversary. The March for Our Lives, today, March 24th, fell on the 20th anniversary of the deadly Jonesboro school shooting. Now, at the time, in 1998, the Jonesboro attack was the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. What was that? Four students and a teacher were killed, 10 others injured. There have been eight deadlier school shootings in the past two decades, including Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Marjory Stoneman Douglas. There have been three others that have had the same number of fatalities as Jonesboro. At your school, Beacon High School, a public high school in New York, do you feel safe?

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: I think before the Parkland shooting, a lot of—especially because in New York we have different gun laws, and so a lot of us feel safer. But after the Parkland shooting, especially because Parkland was known to be a very safe school, we feel that if we don’t fight, it could happen to us next. And so, it is definitely an issue that is affecting all students across the nation.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Soledad, what were you most interested in finding out as you took the Democracy Now! mic and you made your way into the crowd?


AMY GOODMAN: What were you most interested in finding out in talking to people today?

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Yeah. What was great was how intersectional—how many intersectional viewpoints there were. We had a lot of people with the gay flag. We had a lot of people saying “Black Lives Matter.” Because it’s not just school shootings that are affecting. It’s also gun violence in black and Latino communities that we also need to talk about, because this is a huge issue in America. And so, I saw a lot of mothers, a lot of people of color, who came with their children, because they’re scared that in their own communities they’re also dealing with gun violence, and then that needs to be shown.

AMY GOODMAN: So I want to go to some of your interviews and just comment that, behind us, some of the people holding up signs are, for example, “We may be kids, but we’re not kidding” and “Tell Us: More People or More Guns?” Well, we’re going to talk about all that in a minute, but I want to go to some of Soledad’s interviews on the streets as she waded into the crowd. And crowds, that’s putting it mildly.


AMY GOODMAN: Hundreds of thousands of people came from across the country, even though there were 800 sibling rallies and marches around the United States. I mean, we’re talking what? Los Angeles; Las Vegas; Springfield, Missouri; San Francisco; Dallas; New York City; Birmingham, Alabama; West Palm Beach, Florida.

Oh, Donald Trump, though, was not here. The president of the United States was golfing at his private resort in Mar-a-Lago. But people made their voices—and their silences—very clear here, very loud and clear, standing in front of Congress demanding change. Let’s go to those interviews, Soledad.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: I’m Soledad. I’m the youth correspondent for Democracy Now! Can you just say your name, age, and why you’re here today?

DEVINE BATTLE: My name is Devine Battle. I’m 17. And I’m here today because I want to take action against gun violence and show that—exercise my voice.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Are you from a certain group? Or, I see you have a T-shirt.

DEVINE BATTLE: Yes. I go to Parkway Center City. I just came from Philly.


DEVINE BATTLE: Yeah, we’re here today from Philadelphia.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: How has gun violence affected your community?

DEVINE BATTLE: Well, in my community, it’s like guns—there’s a lot of gun violence. I lost my cousin to gun violence. And there’s a lot of people in my community who have died from gun violence. Gun violence is so normalized in my community that when this issue first was brought to me in school, it was like I’m so used to it that I didn’t have much of a reaction to it. And I don’t think that it should be that normalized, that we become desensitized to the effects of gun violence. And so I think that I should exercise my voice more for gun control, because it’s gotten out of hand.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Can you talk more about the incident with your cousin, like how did it happen?

DEVINE BATTLE: My cousin was actually just an innocent bystander, and he was shot because he knew somebody who the person was looking for, so he was killed, just because he didn’t tell them where the person they were looking for was. And he had a whole future ahead of him. He was about to start his own business and everything. And it’s happening to a lot of our youth. They’re dying, when they have a whole future, and they’re dying so young. He was only 20. And I don’t think they deserve to die. I think something should be done, and something should—laws should be enforced.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: What are you hoping will come out of the march today?

DEVINE BATTLE: I’m hoping that it will get enough attention, and that people in Congress, at least somebody in Congress, will feel pressured enough to do something about what’s happening in our country.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Can you tell me your name, please?

LEO: Leo.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: And what are you drawing, Leo?

LEO: I’m coloring my sign.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: And what is your sign of?

LEO: It says, “Protect kids, not guns.”

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Thank you so much, Leo. Can you tell me your name, Miss?

IVY: Ivy.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Ivy, can you tell me what you’re coloring today?

IVY: “Never again.”

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: “Never again.” Thank you so much. Oh, he doesn’t want to talk?

SAM ALCOFF: No? OK, just checking. Can we talk to mom?

UNIDENTIFIED: There’s two moms.


SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: There’s two moms? Yes.


HANY MASSOUD: Your name, and why did you bring your kids out?

NADIRAH MORELAND: I’m Nadirah. You know, we have family who have lost their lives. We have students who have lost their lives. We are here for Parkland. We are here for Chicago. We’re here for Oakland. We’re here for our lives. We’re here for black lives. We’re here for Parkland lives.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: What do you hope will come out of this march?

NADIRAH MORELAND: You know, I think, honestly, when enough—I hope that when enough white people are involved in the conversation and willing to stand up and be heard, that politicians will pay attention, because, clearly, like a lot of the speakers have said, when Chicago kids, when D.C. kids, when urban kids die, it’s just—you know, it’s our problem. But hopefully there’s enough attention and motivation to know that it’s time to reactivate the assault weapons ban and to look into gun legislation, in general, that kills kids all over the country, and adults, for that matter, and women. So—

SAM ALCOFF: Ask her if it has touched her personally.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Has it touched you personally?

NADIRAH MORELAND: You know, Sacramento—

HANY MASSOUD: One second, sorry. OK, go ahead.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Has it touched you personally?

NADIRAH MORELAND: Gun life, yes. I taught high school in Oakland. I’ve lost students there. I have a cousin who died in 1998. So, Damon, Naima, Andre, Stephanie. Yes.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Can you tell me more about what happened? How did—can you tell me more about what happened? How did they die?

NADIRAH MORELAND: Naima was killed by—her loved one was charged with her death and wasn’t convicted. So I think that women of color who are killed due to violence, intimate partner violence, that was her story. And she was a student of mine who graduated the first year that I started teaching high school. My cousin Damon was at a teen club. He was about almost 19 years old. He was 18 years old and was shot by another teen. And other students, you know, in California have been killed, just living their lives, outside of—you know, walking, talking, doing—laughing, enjoying life. So, yeah. None at schools.

But, you know, I’m in a school, and I’m here with other educators, so, you know, our children’s lives. They have to do drills. You know, I’m from Oakland. When you have to do earthquake drills, you’ve got to get under the desk and put your hands up. Now our kids are getting used to having to go into a closet and worry about, you know, the Amish—like those Amish girls who died in Pennsylvania. Somebody comes into a school and kills a bunch of young girls.

I’m just hopeful—because, you know, nobody acted. I thought after Newtown, something would happen. Little white children. You know what I’m saying? And nothing happened. So, you know, maybe the Parkland teenagers, maybe if we start following young people, it will make a difference. Because, you know, I was saddened by all the women’s—the parents who lost their children in Newtown, and I’m really hopeful that maybe this will make a difference.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: What do you think about the NRA saying that teachers should be armed with guns?

NADIRAH MORELAND: You know, I think arming people means that you have the risk of killing young people, particularly young people of color. So, arms is not going to solve the challenges we have. Maybe that will solve the one in whatever million chance that a teacher is trained enough not to hurt somebody, not to hurt one of their students. We know where there’s more guns, there’s more senseless death. So we can’t have that in the—I don’t believe that that would serve to protect particularly black and brown children. Maybe some other kids, but not our children.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Thank you so much.


SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Hi. I’m Soledad, the youth correspondent at Democracy Now! Can you state your name, age, where you’re from and why you’re here today?

ZUHOUR ALBAWNI: I’m Zuhour Albawni from—and my age is 21 year old. I’m a teacher in the Noor School. I come today with my students, to support them in the event.

ROHAN BECKETT: Rohan Beckett [phon.]. I come from Al-Noor School. And I’m here because I want to end gun violence.

ZOBEIDA: My name is Zobeida [phon.]. I’m from Al-Noor School. I’m 18 years old, and I’m here to fight for the lives of the people that can’t anymore, and also for the people that are still alive and at risk of gun violence.

PARAPAR: My name is Parapar [phon.]. I’m 18 years old. I’m from Brooklyn College, so Brooklyn, New York. And I’m here because I want better gun reforms, and I want to ensure that children will not go to school in fear, because they should be worried about their next test, not about if there’s a gun like present in their—

ZOBEIDA: School.

PARAPAR: It’s their school, yeah.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Can you guys show me your signs and talk about them a little bit?

ZOBEIDA: OK. My sign, I was originally going to do something from online, but then I was looking at the statistics, and one thing in common that I found was that after every shooting, almost every news outlet tries to fight to have the most like eye-catching headline, and it would either be “the deadliest,” “the bloodiest.” And I found it very inconsiderate that these lives are just turned into numbers. They’re just a part of this bigger like scheme of America where we’re just lives that were taken, and we’re not people anymore. And a lot of the time, people are like—people are like, “This time, many more people died, so we should we care.” Why should we care if it’s 10 people? We should care before it’s even one. So, yeah, and we stayed up ’til like 2:30 doing this, in the a.m.

PARAPAR: She’s my best friend. We were doing this like together. But I decided to just go for something simple: “No more silence, end gun violence.” I thought it was a good catchy phrase that would like stick with people. If they were to see it, they’d want to know. And, I mean, I did it in red so it would catch eyes. But I thought that the message was simple and straightforward, so I thought that it would like stick.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Have you guys been affected by the lockdown in schools? Have you experienced them?

ZOBEIDA: We had a lockdown when we were in middle school, and at that time you don’t really understand why, and I guess our teachers didn’t want to explain it because we’d get scared. So, we didn’t take it seriously. But recently, after what happened in Florida, I had to speak to my principal about lockdown, about having an event, about the walkout, about participating in this march. And me and a couple of other students organized this together, for our school to come together. And I just found out, when I was talking about how we’d have to hide in our classrooms, hide behind desks, and not even call our parents, it just—I couldn’t explain the feeling. I was scared. And I was just talking to him about it, and I can’t imagine the students who have to actually face it, how they’re feeling right now.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: How has it made you feel to grow up with mass shootings surrounding you?

ZOBEIDA: It’s made me feel like our government doesn’t really give a [bleep] about our lives. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that. But I feel like, to them, money is important, and their own citizens aren’t. And we’re the ones that elect them. And come what may, these kids that you see here today, some may—some aren’t even teenagers, but soon they will be, and we’ll be able to vote. Well, I can vote. But we’re going to vote them out. So either they hear us or they don’t, but we’re going to make them.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: And did you guys participate in the walkout last Wednesday?

ZOBEIDA: Yes, we did. We had to talk to our principal about precautions to take, because we’re a Muslim school, a private school. So we had to take Islamophobia into account. But we did talk to our principal about it. And it was amazing, because you do have those one or two people who—like one guy pointed a gun at us with his fingers, and then someone gave the middle finger. But then you have those multiple people honking their cars. They’re screaming. They’re proud of you. And they agree with you. And it was just an amazing feeling to be a part of this big movement.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Can you talk more about Islamophobia and gun violence and how they’re correlated?

ZOBEIDA: I feel like people think that a lot of things are a race issue, and they’re not. Specifically for this, this is not a race issue. It includes everybody. But Islamophobia and gun violence, I feel like when I’m specifically talking about something, I’m more at a risk because I’m Muslim, and I feel like I could be targeted easily. And because I know how it feels like to be a victim, I don’t want to make anyone else feel that way, especially kids.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Thank you guys so much.

AMY GOODMAN: Those interviews conducted by our high school reporter, Soledad Aguilar-Colón, who is with me right here in Washington, D.C., at the global March for Our Lives, our national broadcast here on Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman.

Now, Soledad, there are—a number of people are here to talk about their own experiences, but before we go to them, we wanted to go to one of the sibling rallies all over the country, we believe more than 800. And this was a young woman named Samantha Mayor in Parkland, Florida, where you can imagine there was a rally today. She was injured on February 14th, Valentine’s Day. She was shot in the leg. She’s 17 years old, and she gave a speech today at that rally.

SAMANTHA MAYOR: I was taking notes in my psychology classroom when the horrid sound of gunshots echoed the walls of the 1200 building. My name is Samantha Mayor, and on the 14th of February, I was shot in the knee in my fourth-period classroom. My classmates and I laid helplessly on the floor, hearing and feeling rapid gunfire. As I am aware that the horrific tape that replays in my head will never be rewinded, I am also aware that the need for change is overdue. Change was due before 17 lives were brutally taken from such innocent souls.

I acknowledge that change comes with time, but when time is so precious, it is hard to wait. It is time for an immediate change. School safety is often so simple that it is overlooked. School safety regulations can be changed now. How can one prioritize the subjects they are in school to learn, when they know that their safety is not being ensured in their learning environment? How can one take their attention off of what is outside the classroom, if potential danger can be on the other side of the door waiting to shoot through it?

It drowns me with complete sadness to recognize that such a horrific tragedy had to occur for change to be so prevalent. My classroom window should not shatter the second it comes into contact with a bullet. A murderer should not have been able to enter the hallway from which he aimed his gun from. The safest corner in my classroom should not only fit most of my classmates. How can one feel safe with such little internal change being made? It sickens me to sit in class now knowing that the windows and the classroom doors are so easy to break. My class was struck with the greatest sense of fear when we saw the glass of the door broken, that all the killer had to do was reach his hand through the part of the door that previously held the glass intact, and turn the doorknob. At that point, it didn’t matter if the door was locked. It didn’t matter that we were hiding. It didn’t matter that we were silent. He could enter if he wanted to. He could have made it through a locked classroom door that easily.

He should have never passed a background check. He should have never been given the means to kill. A vicious murderer—a vicious murderer should have never been able to get his hands on such a deadly weapon. We need stricter background checks to stop people who so clearly should not be armed. Until we enact commonsense gun laws, safety will only be a suggestion, a suggestion that most people agree with but no one makes motions to change. Safety is just an idea if we do not make strides to enforce it. The time for change is now. Children deserve to live full, long, happy lives. Before another heinous crime is committed, before more helpless lives are ended, we need to change the safety of our students. One can only begin to feel safer once change is made. My name is Samantha Mayor, and this is why we march.

AMY GOODMAN: Samantha Mayor, 17 years old, shot in the leg on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018, at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The student survivors organized this historic march in Washington today, the March for Our Lives. This is Democracy Now!'s global broadcast. I'm Amy Goodman, with Soledad Aguilar-Colón, who’s been conducting some of the interviews today, a high school junior from Beacon High School, a public high school in New York City. We’ve got some people behind us, Soledad.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Yeah, can you guys just tell me your name and what your sign says?

NORAH HAMILTON: I’m Norah Hamilton. And my sign says, “We live in a world where girls’ clothing is more monitored than murder weapons.”

AMY GOODMAN: “We live in a world where girls’ clothes are more monitored than murder weapons.” Explain what you mean. Also with your T-shirt, “Students Demand Action.”

NORAH HAMILTON: Well, it means that I’ve seen my friends get dress-coded and have to call home and get new pants, because they had a minor—they had distressed jeans on. And I’ve noticed that my school has—or my state, all you have to do is sign a piece of paper that says that you don’t have a mental illness, in order to get a gun. And—

AMY GOODMAN: How old are you?


AMY GOODMAN: You know a lot about your state’s rules.

NORAH HAMILTON: Yeah. My mom is a part of the group Moms Demand Action, and I’ve learned a lot about it from her and from—I’ve tried to be as active as possible.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, your best friend is standing next to you.


AMY GOODMAN: What is her name?

SAGE BATCHELOR: My name is Sage Batchelor.

AMY GOODMAN: And tell us your sign. Hold it up. It says?

SAGE BATCHELOR: “At first, we were fighting for women’s rights, and now we are fighting for our children’s lives.”

AMY GOODMAN: And why are you here today?

SAGE BATCHELOR: Because I am very passionate about this subject, and I’m trying to change this. I don’t think that my friends should be afraid whenever a drill happens. Even if they’re unaware that it’s a drill, that this drill could happen and it could be real.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain. Soledad, do you have drills at your high school?

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Yes, definitely. We have what they call soft lockdowns. And we—

AMY GOODMAN: Soft lockdowns.


AMY GOODMAN: What do they do?

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Basically, so we have to hide in a room, and we have to go to the farthest side of the corner, and a teacher locks the door. But we actually had an incident where a teacher forgot to lock the door, and a lot of the students were terrified. But, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: In your lockdowns, do you know that they’re not real?

NORAH HAMILTON: Yes. Usually they give an announcement saying that this is a drill. But I believe one time they did not.

SAGE BATCHELOR: Yes. This one time, they did not, and they said, “We are on lockdown.” We were all scared and confused on why we were on lockdown.

AMY GOODMAN: So let’s talk to a mom here, who has comes from Savannah, Georgia. From Savannah? You’re a teacher?

MICHELLE HABERLAND: I’m a college professor at Georgia Southern University and a member of Moms Demand Action. We allow guns in our campuses. In my classroom, students may carry concealed firearms.

AMY GOODMAN: So how does that make you feel?

MICHELLE HABERLAND: Really unsafe. And mostly what I’m really worried about is the suicide risk. College students are at the apex age group for risk of suicide. And when there’s a firearm present, we know that that risk increases by 500 percent.

AMY GOODMAN: Do teachers carry concealed weapons, too?

MICHELLE HABERLAND: No. Actually, teachers are not allowed to carry concealed weapons. It’s interesting, isn’t it?

AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think of President Trump’s push to—for you to be armed, for teachers to be armed?

MICHELLE HABERLAND: More guns is not the answer. That’s not the answer. We need commonsense gun reform, and we need it now.

AMY GOODMAN: There are so many people that we have to talk to. I mean, hundreds of thousands of people came out for this march. We’re going to ask the people at the back to step forward, and thanks so much for joining us and actually taking off your coats. They come from Savannah, Georgia. They said the cold makes them feel better and alive. So, where did you all come from?

JOCELYN BROWN: Well, we’re from the Bronx, New York.

AMY GOODMAN: From the Bronx. And tell us what your sign says?

JOCELYN BROWN: It says, “Tell us: More People or More Guns?”

ALEXIS ROBERTS: We work with students in the South Bronx.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell us your names?

ALEXIS ROBERTS: Alexis Roberts.

JOCELYN BROWN: Jocelyn Brown.

ALEXIS ROBERTS: We work with students, and we had our school participate in the national walkout last—on Wednesday, March 14th. And in five days, we created a school-wide—everyone had hands-on making posters. Each class had a victim and got to know the victim that they represented. And then we had the entire school do a tribute dance to “See You Again,” and the entire school danced together outside during the 17 minutes as a unit, as a community, creating love and, you know, just sharing the support for the victims.

AMY GOODMAN: And the 17 minutes for the 17 people killed at Parkland?

ALEXIS ROBERTS: Yes, absolutely. It was 17 minutes, all of them. We had student speakers representing, you know, students pretty much running the whole thing. I put it together in about a week, we had. And I do that, you know, with the students all of the time, through my company, Peace by Piece, with the school and outside of the school.

AMY GOODMAN: Soledad, when we were speaking before this march, you were talking about your concerns about how seriously violence is taken in whiter communities and in the communities of color around the country.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: Yeah, yeah. It’s definitely not—I think, with Parkland, there was—it’s interesting that all of a sudden now we have—our voices are being heard, or at least that people around the world are becoming more aware of it. Because Black Lives Matter has been calling for gun reforms for years, and it can’t be talked about now. We need—it should have been talked about a long time ago.

AMY GOODMAN: One of the conversations we had was a delegation of people from Chicago. I mean, whole communities—


AMY GOODMAN: —just got on buses and came to Washington, D.C. And that group of people, from a local parish, said, “We’re talking about mass shootings here, but we’re talking in Chicago about daily shootings.”


AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask a young man here, if you’d step forward. Can you tell us what is on your poster?

JADON ABRAHAM: My poster is showing how our—

AMY GOODMAN: Just one sec. That’s an ambulance that’s racing by. We hope it’s not another shooting.

JADON ABRAHAM: Hi. My name is Jadon Abraham, and my poster is basically resembling our—basically, our feelings, how we can’t take it anymore, and, once and for all, we have to stop guns. And we need more pistols—I mean, we need more pencils, not pistols, at our school.


AMY GOODMAN: How old are you?

JADON ABRAHAM: Right now, I am 10 years old.

AMY GOODMAN: And what school do you go to?

JADON ABRAHAM: Viers Mill Elementary School.


JADON ABRAHAM: It’s in Maryland.

AMY GOODMAN: So, do you think you have something to teach the politicians in Congress right now? You’re 10 years old.

JADON ABRAHAM: I would like to say that no matter how old you are, no matter who you are, everyone has the right, but no one has the right to kill people whenever they want or however they want.

SOLEDAD AGUILAR-COLÓN: I’d just like to say, when I was—when we had the walkout at Beacon, we also had a group—the elementary school across from us come out, and they were also very much chanting with us, ”NRA, go away.” So it was very powerful. It starts from really young.

AMY GOODMAN: I’d like to ask the young man, a bit older, your elder, to come forward.

JADON ABRAHAM: Yeah, he’s my brother.

AMY GOODMAN: Oh, he’s your brother. Do you show him respect?

JADON ABRAHAM: Huh? Yes, of course.

AMY GOODMAN: And tell us your name.

YAPHAT ABRAHAM: Hi, my name is Yaphat Abraham. And—

AMY GOODMAN: Where are you from?

YAPHAT ABRAHAM: Silver Spring, Maryland.

AMY GOODMAN: Me, too! At least I lived there for a few years as a kid.

YAPHAT ABRAHAM: I must say, this movement is just really a big eye-opener for me. And I feel like exactly what you said like means a lot. It transcends to me. No one should be able to kill anybody, no matter how they want, with any just assault rifles or massive war crime—it’s just obscene. It really is. And this “Never Again” poster, I really just want it to like resonate with everyone, saying that this isn’t going to continue. This shouldn’t continue. This will not continue. And it’s up to us, if we want that to stop or to continue.

And I’m just saying, I don’t want to see my little brother in this poster. I never want to see you on this poster. You won’t be on this poster, Jadon. No kid is—no parent will ever see their child on a poster. Those days are over. They’re over. I’m claiming it. They’re over. My dad, my mom, everyone here, it won’t happen anymore. I love you so much, buddy. And this movement is not for one person. It’s not for anyone here. It’s for everyone! Here, abroad, I don’t care. I love you, buddy. And these guns are not going to separate me from you. Honestly, I just can’t. I can’t.


AMY GOODMAN: And your poster says?

YAPHAT ABRAHAM: “Never again.” “Never again!”

AMY GOODMAN: And “Never Again” is the slogan of this whole march, of this whole movement. On February 14th, where were you when you both heard about what happened in Florida?

JADON ABRAHAM: I was at my house, same as Yaphat. We were studying. And as it came on the news, me, my sister, my brother, my dad and my mom, we were all very sad, and we had tears for the massacre that happened. And we hope, as my brother said, never, ever again, and it never will be.

AMY GOODMAN: And your dad is right there filming you proudly. Can you tell us your name? Your sign says “Not One More.”

TEWOLDE ABRAHAM: My name is Abraham, Tewolde Abraham. And my sign is “Not One More.”

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of your sons?


AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of your sons as they stand here today?

TEWOLDE ABRAHAM: I’m so proud of them to march for their life. And I’m proud of them, you know, for standing for no more guns, and the school should be a safe place.

YAPHAT ABRAHAM: It is supposed to be, school, a safe place. I mean, personally, when they started talking about having—like I always talk with my friends, or hear on the hallways that like, “Hey, what do you think of this like controversy? What do you think? We should ban all guns?” and that kind of thing. I mean, I know where I stand. But I like to hear what other people have to say. And they think teachers having guns—I mean, I hear from them. They don’t want that in their schools.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you all so much for being here—

YAPHAT ABRAHAM: Yeah, thanks so much.

AMY GOODMAN: —as we wrap up this global broadcast. We have a lot of people to thank, and some music to go out with. We want to thank Jeff Carey and Adam Brewington and Steven Ames and Kristian Koukal. We want to thank Sam Alcoff, Denis Moynihan, John Hamilton, Hany Massoud, Ariel Boone, Carla Wills, Laura Gottesdiener, Renée Feltz. In New York City, our wonderful crew, Mike Burke, Charina Nadura, Nat Needham, Julie Crosby, Hugh Gran, Paul Huckeby, Nicole Salazar, Mohamed Taguine. We also want to thank Bianca Perez and Skanda Kadirgamar. So many people to thank who have made this broadcast possible.

And I also, of course, want to thank my co-anchor today, a high school reporter, a youth reporter, who started at IndyKids, now at public high school, Beacon High School in New York City. I want to thank Soledad Aguilar-Colón on this day where young people have made history.

We’re going to go out with Common and Andra Day singing today here in Washington, D.C., at the March for Our Lives, the hashtag #NeverAgain, the students saying they don’t want to be the “mass shooting generation.”

I’m Amy Goodman, with Soledad Aguilar-Colón. Thanks so much for joining us. And for all of our coverage on gun control, on gun violence, on massacres, not only in Parkland, but around the country, and around the issues of policy, not only in this country, but foreign policy—weapons sales, war—these are the issues we cover on Democracy Now!, and the movements that challenge them. Go to democracynow.org. Thanks so much for joining us.

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