By Jolie Peal
Brisk weather and freezing winds did not stop the thousands of students and adults who marched on Saturday, March 24 at Lewis and Clark Landing for the March for Our Lives. March for Our Lives was organized by students from Parkland, FL who are fighting for better gun regulation.
The Omaha march was one of more than 800 planned across the world. The central march took place in Washington, D.C., where attendance was in the hundred thousands.
High schoolers from the Omaha Student Union planned the local march to call on Nebraska elected of officials to take action against gun violence. Several students spoke at the protest. Brooke Wilczewski, a senior at Millard North, read the tearful testimony of her friend Sarah who survived the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. She later said in her speech, “We will become the movers and shakers and lawmakers because we have had enough!”
Students from Marian, along with several Servants of Mary, also chose to attend the march. Junior Sarah Gerards attended with juniors Abby McGill and Julia King. “When people come out in big numbers like that it really shows lawmakers what public opinion is and what we want them to do,” Gerards said. McGill was one of many young adults who took advantage of the voting registration at the March. Volunteers walked around with clipboards for people to register to vote in the upcoming election.
Many participants marched with signs showcasing support for stricter gun control. Gerards held a sign that said “Protect people, not guns.” Another sign read, “We hear you kids and have your backs.” Protesters held the signs up while walking across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, stretching between Nebraska and Iowa. Once they reached the Council Bluffs side of the bridge, the student protesters yelled various chants in unison.
“I feel passionately that we should have better gun control. It’s a time to take action,” Gerards said. While the overall theme was stricter gun control, student speakers at the March repeated its other goals several times: a ban on assault rifles, universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines, funding the Center for Disease Control to research the gun violence epidemic, and making the ATF into a digital database.Although the March for Our Lives is over, students still continue to and ways to speak out. Parkland students continued their protest with the Town Hall for Our Lives, an event planned to help students speak to their state representatives. This happened nationwide on April 7. The March for Our Lives has proven itself to be more than just a moment. It is the movement of the next generation.