U.S. Senator Kamala Harris said she was “proud” to join students all over the nation, Saturday, March 24, in the March for Our Lives protest against gun violence. Harris joined the march at home in California, specifically in Los Angeles along with about 60,000 other marchers in support and solidarity with the Florida students who survived a recent school shooting. The march started at the intersection of West 5th St and South Broadway at 9 a.m., where speakers told their stories.
“I was proud to join the March for Our Lives in Los Angeles,” Harris said.
“The optimism of these young people is contagious, and it’s why I believe they will be the generation that ends the gun violence epidemic. Americans from all walks of life, from students to veterans, are demanding action on gun violence. If Congress won’t listen, then it’s up to us to send them a powerful message in November.”
March for Our Lives was created by #NeverAgain, a group of students who survived the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Everytown for Gun Safety, helped the students coordinate the event.
Organizers of the march used the event to challenge lawmakers to address the issue of gun violence in American schools by implementing comprehensive gun control legislation.
March for Our Lives has three primary demands, said its organizers via their website:
“We cannot have a civil society without reasonable gun safety laws,” Harris said.
“We need background checks. We need an assault weapons ban. Congress needs to have the courage these young people have and act…”
The main march took place in Washington, kicking off at noon eastern time. In Baltimore, Maryland, Adian Granger, 16, joined the march, she said, because she “knows about gun violence intimately.”
She lives in a city with the highest murder rate of any major city in America. Of the 343 people killed in Baltimore last year, 295 died by gunfire, more than New York City or Los Angeles, cities with more than 10 times Baltimore’s population. Gun-related deaths accounted for 88 percent of the city’s homicides.
Adian’s cousin was reportedly shot while walking home from work. Like her cousin, most all of Baltimore’s victims were Black.
Singer Jennifer Hudson said on Twitter that she was “proud to stand with these brave students,” joining other celebs at the event including Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Common. The Oscar-winner performed at the event and also spoke out about her personally tragic experience with gun violence.
“It is almost impossible to understand what the victims, the families, are going through, what they feel, or even to be able to relate to a situation like this unless you’ve been in it,” Hudson told CNN.
“So for people who are watching . . . know that it can be anybody. It can happen to anybody. To me, the saddest thing is no one ever reacts until it happens to them, and then it’s too late…”
In 2008, Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, brother Jason Hudson, 29, and nephew Julian King, 7, were fatally wounded by gunfire.
Organizers raised money for the event through donations made to the March for Our Lives Action Fund, according to its organizers. They also said they raised more than $3 million through a GoFundMe campaign. About $1.5 was used to cover expenses for the Washington march and the other half will go to the families of the Parkland shooting victims, they said.
Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney and Steven Spielberg each donated $500,000 to the organization last month.
Meanwhile, here in Los Angeles, a smaller crowd of over a dozen President Donald Trump supporters showed up on Spring Street, to counter the #Neveragain protestors. Group member Arthur Schaper called the march “mindless.”
“I’m here counter-protesting this mindless attack against the second amendment,” he said, “against gun rights… We definitely shouldn’t be passing legislation dealing with peoples second amendment rights based on emotion.”
The march attracted students from all across Southern California. Here in Los Angeles, Daphne Bradford, CEO of Mother Of Many and computer science educator at Dorsey High School secured funding for a group of Dorsey High School STEM and Law Magnet students to attend the march. Bradford said via a press release to the Sentinel, that 99% of the student delegation who attended the march have friends and family members who have been shot or killed due to gun violence. The group is 100% against arming teachers with guns and want to keep LAUSD school police on campus, said its members.
“It was an honor being here in Washington D.C to join the march for our lives rally with Marjory Stoneman Douglas students and making a change” said Michelle Argumedo, a sophomore STEM student at Dorsey High School.
“My experience here in Washington was absolutely amazing, joining the march with all these people to change something that should have been changed when the first school shooting happened…”
The event ended at around 2 p.m., and LAPD stated that it ended with no arrests or recorded counts of violence.
“This movement doesn’t stop today,” Harris tweeted the day of the event.
“These young people are going to change this country #MarchForOurLives.”
She also implored participants to continue the momentum of the day’s events.
“You’ve marched. Now, here’s something else you can do,” Harris posted on her Facebook page.
“Make your voice heard by sharing why you support the March for Our Lives with me. I will use your stories and words to advocate for reasonable gun safety laws here in Congress. Comment here or send me a letter or email me through my website…”
Those wishing to support the cause can visit Harris’ site: www.harris.senate.gov.