by Emily Pickering
On March 25, Little Rock joined cities across the nation in the March for our Lives. People of every age and from all over the state gathered for this march to protest gun violence, demand gun law reform, and honor the victims of gun violence- specifically the victims of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. The main march took place in Washington D.C. The march itself was very short, just a quick walk to the steps of the Capitol. The protesters marched with signs in hand while chanting “this is what democracy looks like” and “vote them out”, in reference to congressmen and senators who support the NRA.
On the steps of Little Rock’s Capitol, speeches were given by parents, students, and activists. The Little Rock march was organized by Chris Kingsby, who was the first to speak at this event saying, “Today, you have made a vow that not one more…not one more child will lose their life in the classroom.” One parent who spoke, Eve Jorgensen, is the leader of Moms Demand Action, an activist group demanding common sense gun laws. In Jorgensen’s speech she stated “We demand that lawmakers act in our best interest, and not the gun lobbies”.
One of the most powerful speeches was given by Wylie Greer, a senior at Greenbrier High School. He spoke about being one of only three at his school to participate in the school walkout on March 14. Greer’s school allowed him to choose his punishment; either two days of school suspension or two swats from a wooden paddle. All three participants chose the corporal punishment. Greer spoke on the punishment saying “I chose the swats. I don’t regret it. I don’t regret what I did in the slightest. In fact, I plan to walk out again on April 20.”
Some gun rights activists attended the rally to protest- one being Greg Giuffria, a member of the NRA. He believes that “the NRA is not powerful because they bought the politicians, but because the belief of self-defense is such a powerful belief.” He stated that he attended the march to exhibit the opposing side’s beliefs about guns.
This movement has promoted a new voice in many young Americans who feel passionate about this issue. A group of Mount student gathered at the local march to show their support for gun reform while honoring victims of gun violence. It is our time as young adults to stand up for this movement and use our voices to spark this change.