Students Join “March For Our Lives” Movement at Iowa Capitol

March 26, 2018

February 14 celebrates love. Interpretations vary from person to person, but each year Americans find themselves overwhelmed with tacky decorations, pressure to buy the ‘perfect’ gift, or a very lonely night in. Most cannot go a few minutes without seeing advertisements for chocolate, flowers, and diamonds. However, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 17 lives were lost.

This tragedy has led to an ongoing discussion questioning the safety of American students while at school. March 24, hundreds of Iowans stood at the capitol to protest school shootings. The Parkland shooting took place over a month ago, and has generated a movement against school shootings and gun violence in general. The #neveragian movement goes hand in hand with the March for Our lives, a march protesting gun violence in schools. This emphasis on students leading protests, walkouts, and marches seen at the ‘mother’ march in Washington D.C. Hundreds of students traveled to the nation’s capital to try to implement new gun laws and regulations.

Sibling marches take place nationwide and worldwide. Here, in Iowa, 11 marches take place in the following cities: Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Creston, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Manchester, Muscatine, Oelwein, Iowa City, Sioux City and Waterloo. In Downtown Des Moines, civilians could arrive as early as 12:45 p.m. to view pre-program entertainment. At 2:00 p.m., participants listened to a variety of speakers including students, teachers, and a military veteran.

Hundreds of people stood hushed, listening to these speakers as they projected their emotions to the crowds. A high school speaker stated, “I understand the second amendment, but when students keep dying, I don’t care. This is more than the left and right. This is life or death.” The actual march began at 3:15 p.m. and goes until 4:00 p.m. 2,000 people have said they will attend the sibling march in Des Moines on Facebook. Most Iowans understand and deal with seemingly random weather patterns. Snow, wind, and ice did not stop civilians from showing up to the event.

Students, parents, teachers and civilians supporting the movement want change in regards to violence in the form of military grade guns. Part of their mission statement said, “Our schools are unsafe. Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives.” The statement goes on to explain, In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns.  March For Our Lives believes the time is now.”

Parkland students have proved themselves inspirational for other teenagers and young adults. Columbine victims have expressed their admiration for the attention the Gen Z kids have attracted. Anne Marie Holchhalter, a victim of Columbine, told “I actually got almost excited with anticipation that this might be the change that we’ve all tried for for so long.” She added, “Maybe this will finally spur on these lawmakers to do something. Just do something.” For those who could not attend this march and would have liked tosupport the cause, other opportunities take place later on.

April 20, 2018, walkouts take place, organized by students nationwide. Teenagers will not go to school that day and wear orange, the official color protesting school shootings. Seniors and students who turn eighteen will be able to register to vote.

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