My Experience at the March For Our Lives

Reagan+Palazzo+%28left%29+and+Chloe+Koulefianou+%28right%29+with+their+signs.
Reagan Palazzo (left) and Chloe Koulefianou (right) with their signs.

Reagan Palazzo (left) and Chloe Koulefianou (right) with their signs.

Reagan Palazzo (left) and Chloe Koulefianou (right) with their signs.

Chloe Koulefianou, Features Editor

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On Saturday, March 24, I participated in an event that made history.

The March For Our Lives was an event organized by the student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in an effort towards creating more gun legislation. Headed by Emma González, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Alex Wind, Jaclyn Corin and Delaney Tarr, the march drew around 800,000 people from all over the country. This group has become the face of the movement for gun control, rapidly gaining publicity since the February town hall in which they grilled NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch and Florida Senator Marco Rubio on the issue of gun control. The students were also featured on a TIME magazine cover two days before the march.

At 7am, I got on the Metro to get breakfast with my sister, freshman Siana Koulefianou, and my friend, sophomore Reagan Palazzo. The ride from Franconia to the Capital Building was long but we were too jittery to be tired. I met a woman who came from North Carolina along with her Floridian grandchildren. That’s when it occurred to me how widespread this movement was. Living so close to Washington D.C., I never realized how far people were willing to travel to be a part of this event. The best part of the ride was when people would stop and to ask to take pictures of the sign I tirelessly spent 5 hours the night before making.

Reagan Palazzo (left) and Chloe Koulefianou (right) with their signs and hats after the march.

The magnitude of this event hit me when we finally made it to the Capital. It took a while to exit the Metro station due to the sheer number of people trying to exit the station carrying banners, bags and bullhorns.

Once we finally got out, there were people guiding us towards the road where the event was being held. There were vendors selling t-shirts, sweaters, lanyards, and more. We bought hats and buttons, which we proudly displayed for the rest of the march. We walked forward a bit more, but even though we got to Pennsylvania Avenue about 2 hours before the event was set to start, the mass of people already congregated only allowed us to stand a whopping half a mile from the Capital, by the Newseum.

cbsnews.com
Aerial view of march attenders

There were screens and speakers placed about 100 meters apart playing music before the event started. It was such a giddy feeling, being there, dancing to Tik Tok by Ke$ha with strangers. There were people of all ages there, from a little boy of around seven or eight leading chants with a bullhorn to grandmothers who participated in the Women’s Liberation March of 1970.

After two hours of restless waiting, Andra Day’s voice filled the streets as the event started with her singing her hit song, Rise Up. Artists like Jennifer Hudson, Vic Mensa, Miley Cyrus, and Ariana Grande demonstrated their support for the cause in the form of musical performances.

The Parkland students prepared invigorating speeches and delivered them with the strength of practiced orators. Here’s my favorite speech from the event, by student Cameron Kasky.

The event organizers also brought in students from around the world who have been affected by gun violence. For many of them, the experience that the Parkland students had for mere minutes is a part of their everyday lives. Zion Kelly, a Chicago student, spoke on losing his twin brother, Zaire Kelly, to gun violence. Naomi Wadler, a shockingly mature 11 year old from Alexandria, made a speech about the walkout she organized at her elementary school. A surprise came when Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter, Yolande Renee King, led a chant that shook the ground.

In between the speeches and performances, the organizers broadcasted videos of statistics and debunking the NRA’s claim. My favorite was Sarah Chadwick’s speech, a parody of this commercial by the NRA posted on Twitter. Watch the entire four hours of coverage here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My friend, sister and I made our way home at around 6 pm. Exhausted but elated, I reflected on my experience at the March and all I can say is that I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.

 

 

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About the Writer
Chloe Koulefianou, Editor-in-chief

Chloe Koulefianou is the editor in chief of The Watchdog. This is her third year on The Watchdog staff and her first year as editor in chief. She previously served as features editor. She is the vice president of the Student Council Association, the president of the National Honor Society and an active member of the Academic Team, Model United Nations and the Crew team. Chloe plans to study political science, business and law in college.  She hopes to continue her journalism writing as well. Chloe’s favorite part of The Watchdog is writing articles about subjects she is passionate about, like politics and activism.

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