Students Take The Lead In "March For Our Lives" Events In Triad, Nationwide
Hundreds of people gathered in Winston-Salem over the weekend as part of a nationwide series of marches against gun violence with a focus on student voices.
Many of them at the Winston-Salem event said they’re fed up and ready for change. The overall message was twofold: demand change from lawmakers, and if they don't respond, vote them out.
Regina Pearson, a junior at UNC Greensboro, said the march will help get young people to the polls.
“Seeing people our age, even if they are older or younger than us, that is going to inspire a lot of people who are considered Millennials to go out and vote,” she said.
Anna Quinn, a junior at Wake Forest University, was handing out posters and brochures for the Brady Campaign, which seeks to cut deaths in half by 2025.
She said she wanted to de-politicize the issue of gun violence.
“We’re just trying to change the conversation, that it’s not about gun control necessarily but gun violence prevention, because we think that is something people can get behind,” she said. “A lot of people are frustrated with the NRA and how they are able to manipulate the candidates.”
Marley Priest, a sophomore at the Early College of Forsyth, was among the student leaders who addressed the audience at downtown’s Corpening Plaza.
“Gun violence is an issue that affects all of us, no matter what our background is,” she said. “This is something we all need to work together, despite our differences, to end because it affects us all in our own ways.”
After listening to the student speakers, marchers took to the streets of downtown, as snow flurries fell around them, and expressed support for tighter gun legislation.
The "March for Our Lives" events on Saturday drew massive crowds in cities across the country, the kind of numbers seen during the Vietnam War era.
Other events in North Carolina included those in Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington.
At the Raleigh rally, teenagers, a high school teacher and two Democratic state legislators spoke out to find solutions for gun violence.
Organizers say many of the rallies attracted thousands in support of legislation that would raise the age at which buyers can purchase some rifles and would improve and expand background checks.
Seventeen people died in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.