In March of 2018, I was lucky enough to be on vacation in Washington D.C. at the same time as the rally, March For Our Lives, was happening. This rally was mostly in response to the Parkland shooting that had occurred the month before, but it was also simply a general rally against gun violence and protesting the lack of gun laws in our country.
My family and I had scheduled this vacation before the traumatic shooting happened and before this rally had been announced. When the rally was announced, my dad texted me and said that we were going to be in Washington D.C., the Saturday that it was going to happen. We mapped out the location of the march and it was in front of the capitol building, which was luckily only two streets away from our hotel.
My dad had been to a few marches and rallies, but my sister and I had never been to one and we had absolutely no idea what to expect. It was supposed to start at noon, so we walked down the street at 11:45 a.m. to check it out, and I was astonished at what I saw. The streets were overflowing with people holding up signs, there were barriers around the street, policemen around the perimeter and bystanders standing around confused as to what was going on.
We made our way into the crowd, and I could barely see because there were so many bodies around me. I hadn’t even thought about making a sign, but they were all I could focus on. There were all kinds of people in the crowd, I saw a few Georgetown students, a few kids my age, some elderly and some families that all came together with kids as young as 4 years old.
At the front of the crowd was a huge stage with two big screens on the sides. I wasn’t able to see the actual stage but I could see the screens, and after standing in the crowd for around 30 minutes, somebody came onto the stage and said a quick little introduction before Demi Lovato came onto the stage and performed. After her performance, she spoke on behalf of the Parkland shooting and shared an impactful speech on how gun violence has to end. She left the stage and chanting began in the crowd.
The most prominent chant was “Enough is Enough”. We stayed to see Parkland survivor David Hogg speak on stage and Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter speak. After that, we had to leave and walk back to the hotel. On the walk back there were many other protesters walking towards where I had just left, and a large semi truck even passed by that had a quote from a group of students from Kentucky about gun violence on the side.
Overall, the experience affected and made an impact on who I am today, as cheesy as that sounds. Gun violence and more restrictive gun laws is something that I’ve always been passionate about, but having the ability to be surrounded by so many people that were all as passionate on the topic as I was was very important for me. Having so many people of all kinds come together to fight for something like this, was a powerful sight to be a part of.