Thousands participate in Denver’s March for Our Lives

“Enough is enough”

Saturday, March 24, was a significant day of protest for domestic tranquility. Over 800 marches took place across the country, according to the March For Our Lives website. The cause was to raise awareness for school gun violence and advocate for better gun control in the United States. USA Today estimated that around 800,000 people marched in Washington D.C. for the protest. To put that into perspective, the Inaugural Women’s March had an estimated  500,000 marchers.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Hawkins

After the Parkland shooting on Feb. 14, something changed—people were more up in arms about gun reform than ever before. While 17 were killed and 17 received non-fatal injuries, it might have been expected for America to sweep another school shooting under the rug. After all, Columbine’s shooting was 19 years ago with fewer fatalities, and some people claim that not much has changed since then. “Part of me feels like, why wasn’t this enough to anger people on a broad level before?” Jami Amo, a survivor of the Columbine shooting, told Vox. “I’m grateful for it, but at the same time, it’s an interesting thing to wonder. What’s the difference this time?”

CU Denver Biology major Padua Xiong said, “I think gun reform is such a big deal this time around after Parkland and wasn’t a big deal after Columbine because gun-related incidents have become so common today in America. While Columbine was famous for being known as the biggest high school mass shooting, Parkland immediately topped that.” She later added, “I think that the protest is capable of getting gun reform if the movement gets bigger. I’m also hoping that it doesn’t blow over.”

Psychology major Logan Coffman chimed in and said, “I believe it’s a combination of several things that makes the US known for our mass shootings. Mental illness is not the sole reason. Gun control is not the sole reason. We need to fix and work on all of them together in order to see a change.”

In Denver, thousands of residents throughout the state showed up at Civic Center Park on March 24 for the march. People from Commerce City showed up with posters in hand, victims from the 2013 Arapahoe shooting attended alongside Columbine survivors, and children as young as 4 attended with signs in their hands.

The crowd listened to 11 speakers, most of whom were gun violence survivors ranging from the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting to the Aurora theater shooting. An 11-year-old activist, Olivia Caudil, spoke, as did Tish Beauford, the organizer of the Women’s March that took place in Denver.

For the majority of the two-hour rally, people were packed shoulder-to-shoulder before they marched through Denver and returned back to Civic Center. Of the speakers and posters carried, a few really stood out to the crowd. Tom Mauser, a father of one of the Columbine shooting victims carried a sign that said, “This is your Vietnam.” Bill Shelby, a minister who oversaw the funeral for another Columbine shooting victim, held a sign emblazoned with, “Sorry kids. We adults screwed up! You take it from here! We’re with you!”

March for Our Lives was seen as a success by some, while also seen as a protest for something that shouldn’t be solved with legislature by others. Either way, it sparked up a conversation that has been bubbling over for almost two decades.

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