From D.C. to Lewisburg, the March for Our Lives

Haley Mullen, Assistant News Editor

On March 24th at 2 p.m. all the church bells in Lewisburg began to ring – and did not stop for five minutes. During this time, a crowd of around 200 community members silently marched down 3rd Street. Carrying signs calling for the end of gun violence, protesters were part of one of the 833 “sister marches” of the March for Our Lives.

The March for Our Lives, which took place in Washington D.C., was organized by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where a gunman killed 14 students and three faculty members on February 14. Sister marches for the event took place in New York, Houston, Los Angeles, and many other national and international locations.

Participants in the Lewisburg March for Our Lives gathered on the corner of 3rd and Market Street where musical and poetic performances were held.

“We stand with these students, and our hope is that their voices will guide our leaders to take action that will seriously address gun violence. Our lives are on the line. No one should face this type of fear at school or anywhere else. Students across the country are articulating how fearful they are of going to school and we must listen!” Lewisburg event organizer and Executive Director of CommUnity Zone Cynthia Peltier said. Other speakers and performers included the University’s gospel group, Voices of Praise, and Lewisburg Mayor Judy Wagner.

University students and community members also traveled to Washington D.C. for the March for Our Lives. “I found the march important to attend given the recent wave of gun violence, especially just looking at this year alone,” Sarah Baldwin ’21 said.

Additionally, University students attended international March for Our Lives rallies. Erin Goldberg ’19, who is currently abroad in Copenhagen, attended an event held at the U.S. Embassy in Denmark. “Regardless of being abroad, I thought it was incredibly important to attend the protest because being away from the United States has made me feel more connected to the American community, which is why I think it’s important to protect it,”  Goldberg said.

While funding for the Washington D.C. event came from a number of celebrities including Oprah Winfrey and Amal and George Clooney, the high school students served as the keynote speakers, as well as the public faces of the event. Standing before the crowd, which stretched at least 10 blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue, Stoneman Douglas student Cameron Kasky said “To the leaders, skeptics and cynics who told us to sit down, stay silent and wait your turn: welcome to the revolution. Stand for us or beware. The voters are coming.”

Yolanda King, the granddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was a surprise speaker at the D.C. event. King, who is in elementary school, said to the crowd “Spread the word! Have you heard? All across the nation, we are going to be a great generation!” The event also hosted musical performances by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Platt, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Common, and Demi Lovato.

Other speakers included Stoneman Douglas students Emma Gonzalez and Samantha Fuentes. Gonzalez led a six minute and 20 second moment of silence: a symbolic representation of the time it took the gunman to kill 17 students and teachers at her high school. Fuentes, who was shot in the leg during the shooting, concluded her remarks by leading the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to Nicholas Dworet, one her classmates who had been killed in the shooting. Dworet would have turned 18 on March 24.

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