Student Advocacy in RVA.
March and April were busy times for youth activists in Richmond and around the country. On March 23rd, 2018, students all across the country participated in the “March for Our Lives,” a political rally mainly centralized in Washington D.C., protesting gun laws in honor of those killed at the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The main segment of the march began at noon with participants gathering at Pennsylvania Avenue and then marching to the capitol. The march is being led by survivors of the shooting in Parkland, such as Cameron Kasky and Emma Gonzalez. Student activists all around the country were invited to participate, and if students couldn’t make the trip to D.C., many large cities around the country had sister marches. There were over 800 sister marches taking place in cities around the country and around the world, such as Tokyo, London, Madrid, and Seoul. The march in D.C. was funded by donations from celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, and Steven Spielberg. Three million dollars was raised through a GoFundMe campaign.
Ethan Williams, a senior at the Steward School, attended the march in Richmond. He said, “It was quieter than I expected. Last year, the Richmond Women’s March was this loud and empowering march, but this one had far more power in the silence which followed it as we all crossed the bridge. I think the silence of the crowd hit harder than any chant could.” Along with the march, students were invited to participate in a student walkout on April 20th, in honor of the Columbine shooting in Colorado in 1999. Fifteen students were shot and killed on that fateful day, with 24 injured. Students in Richmond left school at 10:00 am and gathered at Brown’s Island. At 1:00 pm, participants marched from Brown’s Island to the Virginia State Capitol. At 2:00 pm, the official rally began on the steps of the capitol. Corinne Brager, a junior at the Steward School, attended the rally. “I think it was a really good experience,” she said, “The elected officials that showed up were very responsive and nice. I went because I believe in stronger gun reforms.”