On Saturday, March 24th, the March for our Lives will converge upon Washington, D.C. A student-led movement to end gun violence in our country, the march is an outgrowth of the activism of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who have been calling for action since a gunman killed 17 people in their school last month. Since then there have been student walk-outs across the country and now the focus moves to the march.
In additional to the national march in Washington, there will be marches in every state in the country, including several in Metro-Detroit and around Michigan, and even around the world. As of press time, more than 800 walks are being planned.
In Ann Arbor, the walk is being organized by 18-year-old Kennedy Dixon, a student at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti with a major in public and non-profit administration and a minor in public law and government.
“I was inspired that so many people my age and younger have become vocal about the issue, so I knew I had to get involved,” Dixon said. “Normally most teenagers don’t care much about politics. But following this past mass tragedy that took the lives of so many young people, the youth is here to say enough is enough.”
The Ann Arbor march, which will start and end at Pioneer High School, 601 W Stadium Blvd. Organizers are asking that people begin to gather at 10:30 a.m. The walk will begin at 11 a.m. It will feature nearly a dozen speakers and performers. The list includes U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell; Las Vegas mass shooting survivor Liana Trevino; Celeste Kanpurwala rom Moms Demand Action; 10th grade English teacher Mary Voorhurst; Washtenaw County Youth Liaison DaQuann Harrison; Howell High School student Ashley Dunn; social worker and Sandy Hook Promise volunteer Jennifer Tang-Cole; pediatrician Dr. Omkar Karthikeyan; State Rep. Yousef Rabhi; and student performers Seth & Kenyatta and Gemini.
Dixon said she is hoping at least a couple of thousand will show up for the march and rally.
“My only hope is that enough people come out to make us visible and heard, which I’m sure won’t be an issue,” she said.
Dixon also stressed that the March for our Lives movement is not anti-second amendment.
“We are not trying to take all guns away,” Dixon said. “It is also supposed to be non-partisan with the thought that anybody, regardless of political affiliation, should be on board with common sense gun laws so we can save lives of innocent people.”
When asked what political change she would like to see as a result of the worldwide march effort, Dixon was reluctant to say.
“As the organizer of this event I’ve been trying to refrain from publicly making my personal opinion known since I’m sure there is a plethora of solutions people [who plan to attend] the march are looking towards,” Dixon started. “But among other things, I, personally, would like to see more protocol for the licensure of gun owners, mandatory safety classes, laws on gun storage, as well as a ban on military style weapons. Truthfully, I am very far from anti-second amendment. But I don’t see the need for any citizen to own weapons that are made to kill while using excessive speed and force.”
On the national March for our Lives website, Parkland student Emma Gonzalez, who has become a face for the movement, shared a message.
“This isn’t a political rally,” Gonzalez said. “It’s literally a march for our lives. Please help us amplify our voices by using yours. Be part of this moment in time. I believe the young people in this country can change the world. And wouldn’t that be something?”
For more information on March of our Lives Ann Arbor, visit https://marchforourlivesan.wixsite.com/mysite and for information on the national march or additional marches in your area, visit www.marchforourlives.com.