The #NeverAgain movement started in Parkland, Florida, after a tragic, mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead.
Students from all around the country banded together and have joined the survivors, including Emma González, Jaclyn Corin, Sam Fuentes, Sarah Chadwick, Sari Kaufman, Delaney Tarr, Casey Sherman, Alex Wind, Ryan Dietsch, Cameron Kasky, David Hogg and Adam Buchwald to advocate for better gun control in America.
This post is to honor and is in remembrance of the 17 students and teachers who were gunned down on Wednesday, February 14, 2018, Valentines Day.
They are Alyssa Alhadeff (14), Scott Beigel (35), Martin Duque Anguiano (14), Nicholas Dworet (17), Aaron Feis (37), Jaime Guttenberg (14), Chris Hixon (49), Luke Hoyer (15), Cara Loughran (14), Gina Montalto (14), Joaquin Oliver (17), Alaina Petty (14), Meadow Pollack (18), Helena Ramsay (17), Alex Schachter (14), Carmen Schentrup (16) and Peter Wang (15).
"We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes. Our schools are unsafe. Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives."
The Road to DC.
Emma Gonzales: 4.25 Minutes of Silence.
Emma Gonzalez's unexpected 4.25 minutes of silence ... Emma started her speech by addressing the Parkland shooting before making her most impactful statement by unexpectedly remaining completely silent for 4.25 minutes, which felt a whole lot longer to everyone there.
She did not speak while she remained on stage for a little over four minutes before a timer she had set went off. She finished off by adamantly stating to "Fight for your life before it's someone else's job".
Edna Lizbeth Chavez: "Ri-car-do! Ri-car-do! Ri-car-do!"
A strong, confident 17 year old senior, youth leader and survivor of South Central LA, Edna Lizbeth Chavez's emotionally supercharged, powerful speech reverberated throughout the crowd.
At one point she stated emphatically, "This is normal, normal to the point that I learned how to duck from bullets before I learned how to read" and another time recalled watching the melanin on her brother, Ricardo's skin turn grey after he died from gun violence.
Jaclyn Corin: "They Work for Us!" Yolanda Renee King: "I Have a Dream."
After 17 year old Jaclyn Corin's incredibly emotional and impassioned speech about the lack of political will and the necessity to pressure your local political representative, she then introduced a special, surprise guest to the crowd, 8 year old, Yolanda Renee King, Martin Luther King's only Grand Daughter.
Yolande immediately lead the crowd in a call-and-response of ... well you'll find out when you watch the video below.
Her youthful, passionate spirit and voice really resonated with the crowd a message of love, unity and hope while referencing her grandfather Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
Sam Fuentes: "Happy Birthday!"
Sam Fuentes gave a rousing speech about common sense gun control and requested politicians to listen ... and then she promptly threw up on stage. But that didn't stop her.
She then requested and engaged the crowd in singing, Happy Birthday for her 17 year old dead friend Nicholas Dworet, who's birthday it was the day of the march. Nick died that day in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting.
Sarah Chadwick: "$1.05, is That All Were Worth to These Politicians?"
Sarah Chadwick speaks out directly to Florida Senator, Marco Rubio and breaks down the $3,330,355.00, the amount of money he has received from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
She then publicly asks Senator Rubio if each student who died that day, was their life only worth $1.05 to him??? ... or $17.85 for all of the 17 students lives who died that day???
Sari Kaufman: "Today is Just the Beginning."
At March For Our Lives Parkland, 15 year old idealist, Sophomore, Sari Kaufman spoke about the start of the #NeverAgain movement, making a difference, the importance of voter turnout and showing up at the ballot box to bring about some much needed change.
Organizing a voter registration and turn out project, she said, "Today is just the beginning." With the future in the hands of people like Sari, I'm glad she's on our side. Go Sari Go!
Naomi Wadler: "I'm Here to Say Never Again ..."
An incredibly mature, poised and well spoken Alexandria Virginia resident, Naomi Wadler, who at just 11 years of age co-led a George Mason Elementary school walk out with her schoolmate, 11 year old Carter Anderson, took the stage to address gun violence against African American women and girls that is under-reported.
She spoke directly, briefly, succinctly and powerfully. There's an old expression, that good things come in small packages. Well, Naomi Wadler is living proof of it.
Mya Middleton: "Help Us ... Make it Happen."
A 16 year old rightfully angry and frustrated Chicago student, Mya Middleton shares her personal story of when she was a freshman in high school, going to pick up some stuff from the store for her sick Mom ... and some how ended up staring down the barrel of a loaded silver pistol.
Here are a few excerpts from her fiery speech, "Guns have become the voice of America ... join me in sharing my pain and my anger ... help us by screaming to the government that we are tired of crying for help ... help us by screaming as loud as you can ... together we can make sure that what happened to me, the students in Parkland and to the individuals standing here now, does not repeat itself to other people."
Delaney Tarr: "Were Here to Lead."
Delaney Tarr, a 17 year old a high school senior, politically and socially active in her school clubs spoke to the fact that she is there for not only the 17 who died that day but for all of the victims of gun violence.
She continued that it's now a movement and forcefully spoke out to standing up to, against and taking down the powerful, corrupt NRA.
Some of her strongest words were, "we will take the big, we will take the small but we will keep fighting. When they give us that inch, that bump stock ban, we will take a mile. Were not here for breadcrumbs, were here for real change. Were here to lead. Were here to call out every single politician ..."
She continued, "This is more than just a march ... this is more than just one day, one event, then moving on ... We will continue to fight for common sense. We will continue to fight for our lives. We will continue to fight for our dead friends."
Alayah Eastmond: "We Need Change Now!"
Aalayah Eastmond a Parkland survivor, publicly on stage dedicated her march to Nicholas Dworet. She recounted that 15 years ago she lost her Uncle Patrick to gun violence in Brooklyn N.Y and now her mother nearly lost her in the Parkland mass shooting.
In her speech calling for overdue change now, she stated, "All of our lives are important and all of our stories need to be heard, no matter what color you are, what school you go to, what neighboorhood you live in."
Casey Sherman: "Enough is Enough!"
Casey Sherman at 17 years, a Junior, made a longer 10 minute "Enough is Enough" speech at March for Our Lives in Parkland.
She spoke on several topics including, her strong, friendly community, gun reform and visible, concrete change slowly taking place and speaking with her Congressmen in Tallahassee about gun safety legislation.
Casey stressed the need for gun safety, recalling the many mass shootings across America over the past few years. Her speech ended with the crowd supporting her and chanting Enough is Enough numerous times over.
Alex Wind: "Because We Choose Life!"
Alex Wind a 17 year old Junior, Parkland activist in his speech criticized people who think that "teenagers can't do anything." He criticized the idea of arming teachers as a defense against violence, saying that if "teachers start packing heat, are they going to arm our pastors, ministers, and rabbis?"
To paraphrase him he basically said that because politicians support the NRA, take their money and are not interested in passing common sense gun legislation they are basically choosing death over life.
"And none of the millions of people marching in this country today will stop until they see those against us out of office. Because we choose life."
Trevon Bosley: “Everyday Shootings are Everyday Problems.”
Chicago teenager Trevon Bosley, led the crowd in a chant of, “Everyday shootings are everyday problems.”
He recounted, "Since 2006, there have been more than 5,850 people shot and killed in Chicago, and since 2012, there have been more than 16,000 people shot in Chicago."
"I'm here to speak for those youth who fear they may be shot while going to the gas station, the movies, the bus stop, to church, or even to and from school," said Trevon, a student from Chicago
“I’m here to speak for those Chicago youth who feel their voices have been silenced for far too long. And I’m here to speak on behalf of everyone who believes a child getting shot and killed in Chicago or any other city is still a not-acceptable norm.”
Matt Post: "Then Stand up, Speak up, Register to Vote."
17 year old Matt Post, a 12th grade Maryland student activist had this to say, “You and I gather at a time of moral crisis for our country. We stand at a moment when our nation’s laws are not guided by what is right or wrong, not by what is morally sound for the many, but instead is limited by the insatiable greed of a few.”
He continued, “In their greed, the gun lobby and their politicians have tried to deflect and distract us. They’ve tried to twist what is so clearly a gun issue into anything else. But we won’t fall for it. We know that to only focus on school safety instead of American safety is to dismiss the thousands of tragedies in between the massacres.”
I will let you hear the rest of his powerful speech below ...
Alex King: "Our Pain Makes us Family." D'Angelo McDade: "I Stand for Peace."
17 year old Senior, Alex King and 18 year old D'Angelo McDade both students from North Lawndale College Prep in Chicago and members of the student non-violence group the Peace Warriors, walked out on stage with tape over their mouths.
Alex spoke about pain which unites people and makes them family. He stressed the need for change for a better future for their communities. He then engaged the crowd in an African clap that symbolizes unity.
D'Angelo preaching non-violence, quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by saying:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. Which now leads me to say that violence cannot drive out violence, only peace can do that. Poverty cannot drive out poverty, only resources can do that. Death cannot drive out death, only pro-active life can do that."
He promoted peace and love and to love one another. D'Angelo ended off with some good advice from his Mom, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything" ... "I stand for peace!"
Ryan Deitsch: "We need to arm our teachers. We need to arm them with pencils, pens, paper ..."
18 year old Ryan Deitsch gave a simply amazing speech. He spoke about arming teachers with what they need to do their jobs while paying them well to support themselves and their families. And also arming students with knowledge through the power of the internet.
He continued, "And now I know we march today. But this isn't over. This is the beginning of the end. And from here we fight. It is time to fight for our lives."
"They, they might preach NRA, they might preach G-U-N. But we are preaching R-E-V, Register! Educate! Vote! ..."
Ever the comic, with a hint of a smile on his face, Ryan ended off with, "Thank you ... and hello uncle Myron."
Cameron Kasky: “The Voters are Coming!”
Cameron Kasky, a student leader from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., spoke out, “To the leaders, skeptics and cynics who told us to sit down, stay silent and wait your turn. Welcome to the revolution,”
“We are the change. Everybody here is standing with the future of our society, and for that I thank you. Our voices are powerful and our votes matter.”
Kasky called on representatives to pass sensible gun laws and warned that inaction would be punished. “Either represent the people or get out. Stand for us or beware,” he said. “The voters are coming!”
He said to the crowd packed like a tin of sardines, “The march is not the climax of this movement. It is the beginning. If you think today is good, just wait for tomorrow."
These beautiful little girls held my poster yesterday I Marched for all of the children who lost their lives and are forgotten about. I Marched for my 20 year old Daughter Ronique who was killed due to senseless gun violence. #JusticeForAll #AllLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/ESJlMULHZz
— Nicole Gardner (@truthaboutroni_) March 25, 2018
David Hogg: "We Say No More!"
An adamant and defiant 17 year old, David Hogg spoke passionately to the large crowd on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Here are some of the highlights from his "We Say No More" speech:
This is not cutting it ... If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking ... They will fail ... We will come together ... We will get rid of these public servants that only serve the gun lobby ... and we will save lives! You are those heroes ... Lets put the USA over the NRA ... We can and we will change the world."
Adam Buchwald: ParentsPromiseToKids.org
16 year old Junior at MSD, Adam Buchwald spoke at March For Our Lives in Parkland and revealed that he had also lived a town away from Sandy Hook Elementary School when that mass shooting occurred a little over 5 years ago mid-December 2012.
Adam explains that with ParentsPromiseToKids.org, parents sign a contract that promises to their children, that they will vote for ethical legislators, who's priority is children's safety over guns.
Due to requests and demand they even created a Grandparents contract and one for those people without children.
Zion Kelly: "Today I Raise My Hand ..."
17 year old teary eyed, Washington, D.C., native and student activist, Zion Kelly took the stage and shared a heartbreaking story of losing his brother Zaire to gun violence. "Today, I raise my hand in honor of my twin brother, Zaire Kelly," he said, speaking with strength and conviction.
His twin brother, 17-year-old Zaire was killed by an armed robber wearing an ankle monitor on, right in front of his home, while walking home from a college-prep class in September 2017.
Kelly then asked those in attendance, "Raise your hand if you've been affected by gun violence." ... "Just like you, I've had enough," he said.
Christopher Underwood: Don't I Deserve to Grow Up?
Christopher Underwood an 11 year old 6th grader from Brooklyn, NY recounted to the crowd how in 2012 his 14 year old brother was shot while walking from a high school graduation party at his friends house.
He survived for 14 days and died on his 15th birthday, July 10, 2012. Senseless gun violence took away Christopher's childhood and at 5 years old nothing in his life was ever the same because he no longer had his best friend.
Christopher continued, "I have watched for years as gun violence continues to take a toll on communities across the country. For me, I would like to not worry about dying, and focus on math and science and playing basketball with my friends. Don't I deserve to grow up?"
Ozarka was a record shop reborn as a sustainable foods store. We've been wondering for 20 years when the next true rock stars will emerge who will shape a generation. They are here at last. And it turns out, they are not musicians. #enough #wecallBS pic.twitter.com/C5WcTnbAMI
— Ozarka (@OzarkaNL) March 24, 2018
Marjory Stoneman Douglas Drama Club & Student Choir: Sing Shine.
... and where is Donald John Trump, the invisible, FAKE President of the United States in all of this?!?!?! ...
Today, while "March For Our Lives" converges upon DC, and other cities across the country and the World, @realDonaldTrump is languishing @ Mar-a-Lago. Instead of leading, he is in hiding! He is a coward in every way that matters! pic.twitter.com/DQ7dTiK2jx
— Randy Ferrell #VetsVote/@VoteVets (@rpdandy) March 24, 2018
But here's a message from President Barak Hussein Obama ... the REAL President of the United States!
Now it's your turn ...
Check out the March For Our Lives website here.
Sign the petition here.
Register to Vote here.
Get your Voter Registration Drive Tool Kits here.
Donate to March For Our Lives here.
What was your favorite moment at March For Our Lives?
Call to Action:
Register to vote. Then Vote! ... and don't forget to bring 17 other people to vote!
Mark Blaise is an idealistic, socially conscious content creator on a mission to raise people’s awareness while promoting social justice for all. He enjoys writing inspiring and thought provoking posts on social issues, The Golden Rule, personal growth and other amazingly helpful "stuff". His goal is to inspire you to grow and to be a better person by spreading more kindness, showing more compassion, doing unto others, giving back, contributing and helping make the world a better place, while living a truly happy, more fulfilling and inspired life.
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