Saturday, March 24, 2018

March for Our Lives was a big success in Wichita.

By SJ Otto

A March for Our Lives took place today, in Wichita, and it was probably one of the largest marches I've seen in several years. One thing that stands out for this march run is that it was run mostly by, and largely attended by high school students. A few thousand people Marched from Park Elementary School to the old Sedgwick County Courthouse.
People also marched in other cities across the country.
The marchers had many slogans, including "this is what democracy looks like" and "say no to the NRA (National Riffle Association)."
"We've been patient long enough," said Camille Pierce, one of the students who spoke at the rally. "That's 17 lives taken, 17 futures gone. We want change and we need change."
She pointed out that using a knife or a shotgun would not have killed as many as an assault riffle (AR-15 rifle) did.
"If you take blood money from the NRA we will not re-elect you," she added.
Politicians who did come to the really included Rep. Jason Probst, D-Hutchinson. He said the country has done “little more than shrug our shoulders” since 1999 and again in 2005. ‎
"Any one of those events should have spawned action," he said. "This is a movement of students in action."
Rep Gail Finney-D‎, was also present at the rally. Later a speaker was heard to ask, "where is Ron Estes?" Of course Republican Representative Estes could not be bothered with the needs of our young future voters.
Nathan Dominguez, another high school student who spoke at the event, called for 17 second of silence for the 17 students shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
"Representatives sit in big fancy chairs and except blood money from the NRA," Dominguez said. "They say this is just a big liberal plot. But we will not stop."
Almost all the speakers said that registering to vote and then voting is a major action that young people need to take part in. Some students at the march expressed frustration that they are too young to vote. There were at least a thousand students attending the march, just here in Wichita, which has been a traditional strong hold for conservative politics and a gun friendly city and state. If these young people actually stay interested in this issue, the balance of Republican power may actually shift in the years to come.
Other rallies, in other cities, also drew heavy crowds. According to CNN:

"Survivors of the deadly shooting rampage at a Parkland, Florida, high school led thousands Saturday in March for Our Lives on Washington, delivering impassioned pleas to the nation for stricter gun control laws.
Building on the momentum of last week's National School Walkout, these members of a generation raised with gun violence have rallied Americans around their cause while honoring the 17 students and faculty members killed February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School."

If the momentum from these marches continues and these students stay active in politics, this could represent the largest shift in politics, both in Kansas and the US, in the last 30 years.

A Band played music at the courthouse.

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