Impressions from the March

Fri, 03/30/2018 - 8:45am
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Several Block Islanders attended the March For Our Lives in Providence on Saturday, March 24. The event was inspired by the activism of student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida on Feb. 14. Here are some of their impressions of the event:

When I was a senior in high school, two kids in my class were shot to death. Guns were everywhere.

I grew up in rural farmland where God came first, then family, then hunting. And those boys dying haunt me still. I believe in the right to bear arms, but with stricter regulations. The March in Providence wasn't an event, it was an affirmation of respect for life. And it was humbling. The kids that spoke during the rally are trying desperately to get our government to remember the core of their calling, to be accountable to the people and not big money, and powerfully shaming them when the adults turn from them.

And they are doing it eloquently and passionately. I'm ashamed of this country's leadership that they would have to beg for their right to be safe.

Sarah Barkley

 

"Come gather 'round people

 Wherever you roam

 And admit that the waters 

 Around you have grown

 And accept it that soon 

 You'll be drenched to the bone 

 If your time to you is worth savin'

 Then you better start swimmin' 

 or you'll sink like a stone

 For the times they are a-changing"

 

These Bob Dylan lyrics have been in my head for weeks now. What we are witnessing is a generation of young people that have watched what we have — or should I say — haven't done, and have taken the reins towards a future where skin color, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and socio-economics mean much less than it did to generations before. They're painfully aware that gun violence affects everybody and are making sure that every voice is heard in this fight. Inclusiveness, as well as a wise beyond-their-years attitude is what I witnessed on Saturday in Providence, and what I saw at the other marches on TV. Fifteen year-olds giving speeches that brought tears to my eyes and love to my heart knowing the baton has been passed to capable hands that I am more than willing to follow and help in any way I can, no matter how hard the fight. And those that don't acknowledge or mock this societal shift will hang on for a bit longer, but they're outnumbered by the newly empowered and soon their way of thinking and their actions will be a distant memory; one that we hope is never forgotten or repeated. 

Joann Seddon

 

I wanted to go, in the first place, so that politicians and voters start to pay attention to gun violence in schools and to regulations and laws so that students are protected. I felt the need to do that. We have talked about it at school, but it’s not a big conversation. The rally was very loud and inspiring. Everyone from everywhere came to support the cause. I would do it again. It made me feel like I was helping, that I was part of change and doing something, even though I can’t vote. I don’t know if there’s much I can do at school... but it’s a big topic on social media. I see kids, high school, my age, spreading their thoughts and messages. I was very inspired as to how [the Stoneman Douglas students] could put this whole march together, and not let this pass us by, as adults have in the past. I have a lot of hope. 

Celeste Connell, student at the Block Island School

 

I was all for making a presence at the March For Our Lives! I didn’t allow my children to have toy guns. My grandboys have nerfs and squirt guns only. But nothing that resembles a pistol or rifle. I thought there were great numbers of all age groups. I was impressed with the speakers. They spoke from the heart. I was especially glad to be there with my daughter, who was a first time March attendee! She was glad she came and we both learned a few new things. These kids are sending a message loud and clear that can be heard all over the world: #ENOUGH! Peace. 

— Mimi Leveille

 

It was very peaceful. There were a lot of students who gave poignant speeches that I was hoping that people could be open-minded about and hear, because it’s children rather than adults making a political point. I realized after the Newtown shooting that I never took any kind of action. I assumed the politicians would take action, but I realized I was wrong. I was sad I hadn’t done anything after Newtown. It was a little embarrassing. I could have done something, but I didn’t. I think [Celeste and I]  both wanted to be more involved in this issue. I’m thrilled at the direction we’re going, and that the kids have energy and great ideas, and even though they aren’t voters yet, they are finding ways to utilize their positive energy, which is amazing.” 

Celeste’s mom, Jill Kirby Seppa