What was the March for Our Lives?

With so much attention focused on the March for Our Lives, what was it really about and how did people react?


Photo: Carolyn Lane

People hold up signs in support of reformed gun control laws at the March for Our Lives. The march was a nationwide movement and Memphis was one of the cities that participated in the march.

All across the nation during March, students, teachers and a wave of others gathered to show unity, support and hope for gun reform after the Parkland shooting. The march was led by survivors from the shooting, making it one of the largest youth-led demonstrations since the Vietnam War protests of the 1970s. This surge of youth engagement was not lost on the country as the demonstration gained widespread coverage from celebrities like Steven Spielberg and George Clooney, who donated money to the campaign.

The main march occurred in Washington D.C with over 800 other marches taking place across the country, with Memphis having its own march as well. Roughly 1,500 people attended, with many SGIS students taking part in it, too. The marchers were trying to establish universal background checks on all gun sales, raising the federal age of gun ownership and possession to 21, closing of the gun show loophole, a restoration of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban and a ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines. All the speakers in DC were in high school or younger including students from Parkland like David Hogg, who’s gained national news coverage as a target of several attacks on social media for his position. Plenty of celebrities also attended the event, with “Hamilton” creator Lin Manuel Miranda debuting a new song. Former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama wrote a letter of support to the students. The White House’s statement was that they “applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their first amendment rights”

However, not everyone fully supported the March. The NRA posted a video to Facebook claiming that “Protests aren’t spontaneous. Gun-hating billionaires and Hollywood elites are manipulating and exploiting children as part of their plan to DESTROY the Second Amendment.” Former Senator Rick Santorum criticized the Parkland students saying that they should look for ways to respond to a shooter like learning CPR instead of having others solve their problems for them.

Criticism is not unexpected for a demonstration of such size and covering such a hotly debated issue. It will be interesting to see how this momentum is carried in the following months and how much effect it will have on actually moving change.