On Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, 17 lives were taken by yet another school shooting. The loss of those 17 lives began a movement. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered across the nation for the March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 24, 2018.
March for Our Lives was a national student-led event seeking change in terms of gun control. Ventura held one march downtown where hundreds came out to support the fight for legalizing more gun regulations and protect their children from fear in school.
During the march in Ventura, participants began chants of “No more violence, end gun violence” and “Hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go.” They also proudly held up their signs declaring, “Fear has no place in schools” and “Protect our children.”
Once the crowd returned to Plaza Park where the march began, students including Buena High School student Celeste Rodriguez and Ventura High School students Isabel Mercado, Claire Renar, and Samuel Coats gave speeches promoting gun control.
To quote Rodriguez,“No child in America should be afraid of being shot in the halls. No parent in America should have to wonder if that will be the last morning they ever see his or her child again… My plan is to fight.” Rodriguez referenced the difference between alcohol restriction and gun restriction stating, “It is illegal for a 19 year old to buy alcohol, but she or he can legally purchase a rifle.”
Concluding the rally was U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley. “Two weeks ago thousands of students from the DC area walked out arriving on the capitol grounds the last who spoke said, ‘the right to own a gun does not outweigh the right to live,’” said Brownley. According to Brownley, guns are the third leading cause of death for Americans age 18 and younger.
Brownley said to the crowd,“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones that we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek… We will not agonize, we Will organized. We will not give up, we will stand up. let us change the things we cannot accept. This is not a moment, but it is a movement driven by the young people of our country.”
Buena High School student Mia De La O attended the march. She believes that by attending the march and actively fighting for gun regulation, she is fighting for her life.
She said, “In terms of change, I feel like this is the start of what this generation needs…This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. This is not one side versus the other. This is not you are wrong and I am right.” She added, “I just want to stay alive in school…this can’t happen in generations to come.”
Hearing the protesters in the march, which included students,educators and family and community members, the question many asked was, “How many more?”