On Marching for Our Lives

Protesters gathering near the speaker stage on Constitution Ave, Washington, D.C.

Protesters gathering near the speaker stage on Constitution Ave, Washington, D.C.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm passionate about the issues, but yesterday I felt reluctant to join the quarter-million people descending upon D.C. to March for Our Lives. I had gone to bed thinking what good does it do just to show up/what's the point? Now I remember, the point is just this: showing up means there's still hope.

My friend Alex walking to join protesters in front of the US Capitol.

My friend Alex walking to join protesters in front of the US Capitol.

Samantha Fuentes, a student survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS, bravely took the stage to recount her experience, the rain of bullets in her classroom, the bullets that struck her legs and lodged shrapnel in her face and behind her eyes. As she stated that "lawmakers and politicians scream 'guns aren't the problem' but can't look me in the eyes" she suddenly and spontaneously vomited on stage before continuing a harrowing speech.

Emma Gonzalez, also of Stoneman Douglas High, spoke briefly then silenced hundreds of thousands of people for just over 6 minutes and 20 seconds, the same amount of time it took for a senseless act to take 17 lives in Parkland, and what felt like an eternity.

Meanwhile, at home in Richmond, Maxwell Nardi of Douglas S. Freeman HS stood shoulder to shoulder with community leaders and law makers at the state capitol before delivering a concise call to action for gun reform.

I'm so grateful to the unstoppable force of young people who are refusing to be martyrs to this cause and whose energy will no doubt lead to real change, and I'm equally grateful to the friends who keep my feet firmly pounding pavement to support them.