MIAMI (WSVN) - Thousands of people are expected to converge in Washington to participate in the March for Our Lives rally.
Organized by survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the march is intended to be a massive protest demanding changes in gun laws to prevent future mass shootings.
A coalition of students from Miami-Dade Schools and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School met Wednesday evening to plan for the March 24 march.
7News spoke with several students at the meeting. They said they have seen too much violence in their communities and are ready to fight for their safety.
Dominique Brown lost her child, Jada Page, to gun violence. “I was screaming, ‘Somebody help me. Somebody help me. They shot my baby,’ and I called 911,” she said.
Wallace Telusord, a Miami Edison High School senior, said he’s used to this. “In our community, gun violence tends to be a problem,” he said. “In terms of what I see every day, I really do see a criminalization of black and brown people.”
Community groups are working to get as many students as possible to attend the Washington, D.C. rally.
“The 22nd, we’re taking 45 youth from inner city, from across the county,” said event co-organizer Valencia Gunder. “The kids are very excited. It’s an all-paid trip, so they don’t have to pay anything. They just have to show up and participate.”
More than 700 marches across the country have been organized.
School shooting survivor Cameron Kasky said that although there is still some coordinating to do, the students are prepared to make their voices heard.
“We are ready to face the world and say, ‘Hey, world, you have done us wrong,'” Kasky said. “Our generation is going to rebuild this and make it better and protect everyone whether or not they want to be protected.”
Kasky described the process of getting ready for the march. “It has been jumping into action and putting myself aside and realizing that myself, Emma – we’re part of something bigger now. This is not about us. This is about our message,” he said.
Fellow organizer and shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez said she feels obligated to make a change.
“It feels like, at this point, we don’t even deserve to think about ourselves because there are so many people who can’t, and there are so many people who have died,” she said. “Every fiber of our being needs to be for them because, since we have this platform, if we don’t use it, then we’re disrespecting the dead, the people who are injured, the people who can’t speak, the people who haven’t spoken and aren’t being allowed to speak.”
Kasky even confronted U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., about accepting millions of dollars from the National Rifle Association during a town hall meeting.
“In the name of 17 people, you cannot ask the NRA to keep their money out of your campaign?” Kasky asked.
Now the teenagers, most of whom are too young to vote, are planning the gun control demonstration in Washington, D.C.
“I really want people like me, that look like me, that are my age, that act like me and are in the classes I’m taking to notice what is happening,” said Miami Norland High senior Alice Royer, “and notice that they also have a voice and they can speak out, too.”
Hundreds of thousands are expected to turn out to stand with the young influencers.
“We have inspired a new generation of leaders, and that’s inspiring,” Kasky said. “I’m ready to be a part of that.”
Both Kasky and Gonzalez said they have received so much support for the march that it is getting incredibly difficult to keep up with everyone reaching out to help.
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