PARKLAND, Fla. – Less than two miles from the site of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, nearly 15,000 people gathered in Parkland Saturday to lend support for the national "March for Our Lives" rally in Washington.
There was a wide range of emotions during the event: heartbreak over the 17 lives lost during the massacre last month; frustration that change hasn't happened fast enough, and passion about the change students want to create.
Many who came wore the maroon and silver school colors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas and carrying signs with the faces of the victims.
"A vicious murderer should have never been able to get his hands on such a deadly weapon," said Casey Sherman, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas student who survived the massacre. "We need stricter background checks to stop people who so clearly should not be armed."
One of the speakers said that the historic gun laws Florida passed a few weeks ago were a step in the right direction, but not enough.
Several times the crowd broke out into chants of “enough is enough.”
Specifically organizers demanded things like stricter background checks for gun purchases, a ban on semiautomatic weapons like the AR-15 rifle, bulletproof doors and windows in schools, limiting the maximum capacity of magazines and support for those with mental illness.
Max Schachter, whose son Alex Schachter died in shooting, shared a heartfelt memory of his 14-year-old who still loved to snuggle up with his mom and dad and enjoyed playing in the marching band.
"I have decided I will not stop fighting for change," said Max Schachter, whose son, Alex Schachter was killed in the shooting. "The 17 victims’ families will not stop fighting until we make this world a better and safer place."
Thousands of people gathered at Miami Beach high school to rally in solidarity with the national “March for Our lives movement.
Students from Miami Beach High School and Marjory Stoneman Douglas alumni led the movement and spoke alongside Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
“Young people who stand up to have their voices heard. I’m hoping that this is a movement that last for a while because we need more of this,” Gelber said.
Their message was unified: We want gun reform.
“Not one additional child shall fall victim to the insanity that the gun manufacturers have over our country and those to profess to represent us all,” Miami-Dade Public School Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Not one more day shall pass when we shall remain silent. Today is the day when we say the lives of our children are not be violated.”
Close to 500 people gathered here in this parking lot before marching along Bird Road. The people we spoke with said they wanted to be a part of the Never Again movement. While students are doing their part in Washington, they are doing their part here in Miami.
"What makes me feel great is that it is happening all over the country and all over the world," marcher Gary Reshefsky said.
At Tropical Park hundreds gathered at a march organized by Coral Reef student Janet Hernandez.
"The turnout and the signups just grew exponentially," Hernandez said.
She said how important it is for her generation to rise up after the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High School and to push for stricter gun laws so that a similar tragedy never happens again
"I knew that there was going to be an enormous amount of people showing up because it is such an important issue in my community right now," Hernandez said.
Broward and Palm Beach
President Donald Trump was in Mar-a-Lago where hundreds of protesters descended to show their support for the March for Our Lives rallies around the country.
Hundreds also gathered at Weston Regional Park Saturday morning in solidarity with the students marching for change. The people gathered told us they want to commemorate the 17 victims of the Stoneman Douglas shooting, which happened just 20 minutes away.
Many carried signs urging gun reform.They said this and all the March for our Lives rallies are a peaceful effort to demand children's safety become a priority.
In Pembroke Pines, more than one hundred supporters marched from Ben Fiorentino Park. They were chanting, carrying signs and waving at Sky 10, all in solidarity with the "March for Our Lives movement.
These communities say they organized these rallies and marches because not everyone could be in Washington, D.C, but everyone can make their voices heard to demand gun reforms and heal as a community.