As a response to recent gun violence in the United States, thousands of citizens marched through cities across the country on March 24. Although there has always been resistance to gun violence, the majority of protests began after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018. Many MAST students participated in the nationwide march, including Juniors Ekaterina Ivanova, Laura Sandino, Huguette Caldera, and Carly Martinez.
Carly Martinez is a member of the Youth Commision for the City of Miami Beach. She and her group passed a motion to the commision to organize the march in Miami Beach. The city then collected money and hired police officers to reserve and protect the area for the march.
“This was not just for Miami Beach; we wanted to get the whole city of Miami involved,” Martinez said.
She and two other members of her youth commision interviewed children, teens, and adults about what they hoped to change in attending the march. Protesters marched from Miami Beach Senior High to Collins Park with people protesting and holding up posters. Appearances were made by celebrities such as Flo Rida and Jo Mersa Marley.
“The turnout was amazing and it was exactly what we had hoped for and I think it had a good effect,” Martinez said.
Caldera and Sandino were also at the same march in Miami Beach.
“There were little kids there and they seemed really passionate and determined and they are the future of our society so I thought that was really amazing,” Caldera said.
Ivanova attended the March in Washington D.C. with her friend Alessia Diez. The march was held in front of the capital and almost 500,000 people attended. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas and other schools around the country made speeches about gun violence and how it has affected their lives.
“It was really emotional, I started crying at the beginning because they showed a video with a recap of all the devastating things that have happened in the last month Also when Emma Gonzalez spoke I was very emotional because I think she is so amazing and her speech impacted me so much, ” Ivanova said.
There were performances from singers like Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and a speech from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s granddaughter, Yolanda King.
“I’m really happy I was able to go and it’s something historical I was able to go to and I will never forget it. I think it made a big impact because it’s the first thing all led by young kids and it’s all because of the kids from Stoneman Douglas that this happened,” Ivanova said.
Inspired by all the protests and actions taken by students her age, junior Sabrina Fradette, began forming the club, National Association of Students Against Gun Violence. She got the idea over Spring Break and immediately began gathering members, contacting people on the national level and finding a sponsor.
“I want to make sure that everyone is informed in what’s happening in the political sphere related to gun violence and that even though we are just one person we can have a real impact on our government and the laws that are put out,” Fradette said.
The club meetings will consist of discussing topics such as the that factors that lead to gun violence and laws being debated in the house and senate, and as well as holding letter writing campaigns. Fradette wants to form a forum with local politicians and have a Q&A.
The students who protested against gun violence hope their voices were heard and are hopeful for legislative change.