March for Our Lives Demands for Change


This weekend, the first March for Our Lives will be happening in St. Louis and in various cities across the nation. The March for Our Lives is a march that has been organized in response to the frequent mass school shootings in the US and was organized specifically in response to one of the most recent school shootings at Stoneman-Douglas school in Parkland, Florida.

The United States is unfortunately no stranger to gun violence. For decades, citizens have been witness to mass shootings and tragedies, many of these happening in our schools. In fact, they happen so often that it seemed that most people had become quite desensitized to them. The issue of gun control was a platform point for politicians and not much more. When students were gunned down in their classrooms, the nation would watch the news, pray for their families and forget as soon as the next news cycle took over. Therefore, the nation was stunned after one of the latest mass shootings, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Seventeen people were murdered at Stoneman Douglas in a tragic occurrence that those living in the United States have faced more than once in recent years. However, what came next was an unprecedented response to a school shooting, which has forced citizens on both sides of the political aisle to take a look at their beliefs, the safety of our nation’s children and what it truly looks like to be an active engaged American.

The response from the surviving students in Parkland has turned into a nationwide movement, the March for Our Lives. After the shooting, students from Stoneman Douglas almost immediately began calling for change. They appeared on news channels, in articles in every major newspaper, and sparked conversation all over social media, and in homes across the country. The students had a major unifying message. They believe that, while the shooter is ultimately responsible for this horrible crime, the complacency and inaction of our nation’s government has allowed gun culture to reach a dangerous boiling point. Their message culminates in the March for Our Lives, taking place in Washington, D.C. and across the nation.

The march is organized by the surviving students of the Parkland shooting and calls for legislative action on the topic of gun control. On the March for Our Lives website, there is a petition that calls for three specific actions by elected officials:

  1. Passing a law to ban the sale of assault weapons like the ones used in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sutherland Springs, Aurora, Sandy Hook and, most recently, to kill 17 innocent people and injure more than a dozen others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
  2. Prohibiting the sale of high-capacity magazines such as the ones the shooter at our school—and so many other recent mass shootings used.
  3. Closing the loophole in our background check law that allows dangerous people who shouldn’t be allowed to purchase firearms to slip through the cracks and buy guns online or at gun shows.

Here in St. Louis, the march will begin at Union Station at 10 a.m. and continue down Market Street to the Gateway Arch. Students from the St. Louis area were heavily involved in the planning of the march. Organizers of the St. Louis march said, “This movement is for every life lost — in places of worship, workplaces, shopping malls and in our neighborhoods. Everywhere and anywhere. Therefore, we are marching to demand ‘that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.’”

There will be many speakers at the St. Louis march as well, including State Representative Bruce Franks Jr. Franks himself has had experience with gun violence.

Here at SLU, many students are preparing to attend the March for Our Lives on Saturday. On Wednesday, the SLU College Democrats held a sign-making event and plan on taking a group to the march.

SLU College Democrats President Robert Lasky spoke about the importance of showing up for the march, saying, “Marches are great ways to show public opinion on a certain issue, and public opinion has a very long track record of swaying the opinion of public officials. The more people that show up the louder voice we have together, and that’s important, because this is about people’s lives.”