Comparing the March for Our Lives to the National Walkout

Inspired individuals protested for gun control on Saturday's March for Our Lives after recent events of gun violence. Photo courtesy of Lily Loftis. 

By Vionna Eshghi

All over the country on Mar. 24th, people marched together to support gun control in America in the nationwide March for Our Lives, organized by members of the “Never Again MSD” organization.

Sophomore Lily Loftis attended the rally in Redwood City and even presented her speech. “Instead of a march through Redwood City, it was a two-hour rally in the plaza. I got there [...] and started passing around posters and talking to the hundreds of people who began to flood in,” Loftis said.

The March in Redwood city was packed with people in the space between the old courthouse and the fox theatre. As people flooded into the street, others stood on top of fountains just to be able to see what was happening around them. “There was no free space at all. Once it started, the leaders and speakers of the rally, including myself, sat on the steps facing the audience, [...] watching all the students make way through the crowd to find a spot in the front was very moving,” Loftis said.

The crowd at this march was fairly similar to the crowd at the Women’s March from earlier this year, only there were more males and people were less energetic according to Senior Keeton Martin, who attended the San Francisco march. “While there were a decent amount of students there, I would've liked to have seen more students as the movement is mostly student-led,” Martin said.

Loftis also spoke at the National School Walkout on Mar. 14th, one month after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This walkout had a larger student population, and included students from Menlo, Sacred Heart, MA, East Palo Alto Academy, and Woodside High School, which made speaking at it different from speaking at the march. “At the walkout, it felt more peer to peer and less formal, but impactful in it's own way,” Loftis said. The speeches were inspiring and came from a larger group of people, rather than just students. “[Though I was all the way in the back,] they had some strong speakers from what I gathered, although not as many students spoke,” Martin said.

Junior Ashli Jain also marched in San Francisco. “I think that the sheer number of people and range of diversity, in terms of age, race [and sexuality], at the march made it much more impactful and uplifting,” Jain said. “There is so much power in seeing a large variety of people unite over a joint belief.”

According to Loftis, there were three open mic sessions for anyone from the crowd to come and say something, rather than people coming up when they pleased to speak like at the walkout. “We even had a survivor from the Las Vegas Shooting speak. The speeches compared to the walkout speeches, in my opinion, were more powerful.”

At the march, many different high schoolers who represented diverse backgrounds shared speeches. Activists who had a different primary focus spoke as well, providing alternate perspectives.

Due to the grand size of the crowd, this was a more partisan event, in that there were more people (in comparison to the national walkout) marching and speaking for what they believed in. As people marched, they chanted things like “Vote them out” and “Hey hey, ho ho, the N.R.A. has got to go.” Even though it was a large crowd, there weren’t many counter protesters in San Francisco as opposed to other March for Our Lives events, according to Martin.

This was an empowering moment for many students and members of our community to speak their minds hear others speak theirs. “This march was filled with anger, but lots of hope and 'never again' energy,” Jain said.

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