As young people spoke out against guns around the world during a day of protest, a movement emerged that seemed formidable enough to take on the powerful National Rifle Association
TAYA GRAHAM: This is Taya Graham reporting for the Real News Network in Baltimore City, Maryland.
“Never again” was the refrain as students marched on D.C. to show politicians that they want real gun control.
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SPEAKER: We’re here to demand the change that we deserve. We’re here to demand and make our voices heard.
TAYA GRAHAM: It started with a shooting in Parkland, Florida, but has since turned into a movement.
EMMA GONZALEZ: 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.
TAYA GRAHAM: A political sea change driven by youth and passion for real laws to control guns.
STUDENT 1: The biggest message that I want to send to Congress today is that enough is enough. And all the students you see here today, and all of us, we are going to be in your positions very soon and we are going to change this country.
TAYA GRAHAM: In a country that has thus far stood by as children have been murdered in schools across the country. From D.C. to Los Angeles, hundreds of thousands of protesters marched and demanded that special interests, which had stymied reasonable restrictions, be called to account.
STUDENT 2: Because this happens on a normal basis, everyday basis. Today I’m seeking that change. I’m seeking the revitalization that we’ve been asking for.
TAYA GRAHAM: And that the politicians who support organizations like the National Rifle Association be thrown out of office.
CAMERON KASKY: 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.
BRIANNA WILSON: We shouldn’t have to go to school every day feeling that we are unsafe. We shouldn’t have to go to school feeling like we have to arm the teachers with guns.
TAYA GRAHAM: Here in Baltimore that message was even more pointed. Students who rode the bus to Washington, D.C. said gun violence on the streets claims the lives of dozens of young people.
DARRIUS SAVOY: Young people getting lost in the streets behind guns.
TAYA GRAHAM: When you were there was there anything that you saw, a story you heard anything that really touched your heart, really moved you?
SHANAYA: Yes, it was a story by a guy, I forget his name, but he had a story about how his, I think his cousin died, and how he was in school. And then they had a shoot out, his best friend had died.
TAYA GRAHAM: Including teachers from Excel Academy, who lost eight students in the past two years.
DEBORAH WALLACE: It has been a traumatic impact on all of us. The staff and the students. We’ve had people to come in from the grief counseling to talk to the students. So it’s been very very traumatic for all of us.
SHELLEY HIGGINS: The way I see it is that there’s a lot of trauma. So you know, so a lot of times we have to deal with a lot of trauma in the classroom. Meaning, you know, in the way be they behave, you know, their ability to learn ability to retain information. You know, sometimes them self-medicating to try to numb the pain, or whatever the case may be. So yes, I see it affect them all the time. Sometimes absenteeism, you know, feelings of hopelessness and despair. Yeah, I see it all the time.
TAYA GRAHAM: Young people who said they traveled to D.C. to change the status quo, and will not wait for the next shooting to occur to demand real change.
TAMIRA: And you know, I think it was just all about coming together. And this is not the end. You know, like they say, is enough is enough. And we’re going to continue to move forward, and the millennials and Gen Z is coming for every type of political office there is. We’re not going to take it. You know, as long as we can’t vote, as long as we don’t have a voice, we’re going to be out in the streets.