PARKLAND, Fla. – A crowd of people gathered Saturday at Pine Trails Amphitheater in Parkland in a city where they know all too well what the pain of gun violence feels like. They joined hundreds of communities around the country at March For Our Lives rallies to implore lawmakers to take action on gun control.
The Parkland March for Our Lives has a deeper meaning, organizers say, since the original March for Our Lives was founded by teens after 17 people were killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In Parkland, rally goers were holding signs that read “Stop Gun Violence,” “#Enough” and “Just Go Out and Vote.”
The rally began at 9:30 a.m. with speakers who are survivors, family members, and activists personally impacted by gun violence.
Debra Hixon, whose husband, high school athletic director Chris Hixon, died in the Parkland shooting, urged people to go out and vote. “We need you to vote for lawmakers that believe in what the general population of America believes in and that is that we can do better and we deserve better.”
At 10:30 a.m., the rallygoers marched throughout the park.
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Zoe Weissman, 16, president of the March for Our Lives Parkland, was in middle school at the time of the Marjory Stoneman massacre. She has become an advocate for gun control because of what she experienced the day of the shootings.
“It means a lot to see how many people care about our mission. At the same time, it also gives me hope that we are also going to be able to make a change. This time is different. We’ve been fighting for the past four years and I think it’s going to culminate into action.”
In Weston, a rally organized by students from Cypress Bay High School at the Weston Library Park, there was a cal to action to those who have been left numb by the bloodshed and inaction.
One speaker told the crowd: “Because if we feel nothing that means we’re accepting a reality where kids will die in schools and where people will die in grocery stores.”
At a 4 p.m. rally in front of Coral Gables City Hall, one speaker called the problem “uniquely American” adding that it is “because our country is so deeply entrenched in an interpretation of a centuries-old document.”