I am so proud of my granddaughter Natalie and her dad who joined the 800,000 at the March for our Lives last weekend. Here, Natalie talks about her experience.
Q: Natalie, you participated in what I think and hope was an historic event in American history. What made you decide you wanted to actually be there with the other students?
A: I wanted to be part of the March for Our Lives because I really agree that it’s time for a change in our policy, and I know we need as many people as possible to come together to make this change happen.
Q: What was it like being part of the crowd? Could you see and hear?
A: On the main street the crowd was very tightly packed in the center, and more scattered on the sidewalks. Being in the middle of the crowd was very intense, with barely any room to move. Since I was taking photos it wasn’t the ideal place to be. There were large screens that were broadcasting everything going on on the main stage, and being in between two screens caused the audio to become distorted and sound like a continuous echo. Unfortunately my dad and I were in a spot where the voices of the speakers sounded that way for a while, but eventually we moved. As for being able to see, it was surprisingly easy for me considering I’m a little more than five feet tall!
Q: What were the people around you doing?
A: Most people were listening intently to the speakers or chanting “ VOTE THEM OUT!”.
Q: What speaker or speakers grabbed your attention? Left the most lasting impression? Thrilled you the most?
I loved Yolanda Renee King, the granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr. She is such a mighty little girl, and watching her speak was so powerful. Of course everyone rejoiced when Emma Gonzales came out on stage, including me! Her speech was brilliant and unforgettable, and experiencing the minutes of silence in-person was amazing. Every speaker there had a key role to play in spreading the message that gun violence is a serious problem that must be changed, so really I liked all of them.
Q: What about your school in upstate New York?
A: My school had a 17 minute long walkout, where about one hundred kids participated. In order to show your support, we were told to wear orange. It was interesting to see which teachers strategically chose to wear an orange scarf or tie. Many teachers in my school supported it, but as a policy they were not allowed to discuss it with the students. After the walkout was over and we all returned to our classes, one of my teachers addressed the class and said “To all of you guys who walked out... I’m proud of you, and to all those who didn’t walk out.. I’m proud of you as well.” Overall it was a very inclusive and safe environment to express your thoughts on current events.
Q: Most of the people who read my blog are oldsters. And many marched against wars in the past. They are hurting now and want some hope. What can you say to us?
A: Don’t lose hope! Use your vote to change these policies! Change does not happen in a single day, it happens step by step. Only you can help this country take this journey to a safer future.
Pictures from Natalie's phone.
Pictures from Natalie's phone.