“Our minds, which are programmed to protect our children, are also programmed to find numbers like 13,823 simply too big to understand. We cannot, I cannot, allow us to become desensitized to these deaths. This cannot become our normal.” – Violet Singer, Bend High School Student
More than 4,000 people marched through Downtown Bend on March 24 as part of a student-led initiative that took place across the nation: March For Our Lives.
Organized by Bend High School students including Vinna Ottaviano and Lauren Hough, the march began in Drake Park and followed a designated route through downtown Bend. Local students spoke and performed onstage before the march began.
Bend High student Violet Singer read statistics about gun violence across the country since 2012, “46 children and teenagers in the United States are shot every single day, 7 of whom die from their injuries, which is on average 17,102 children shot and 2,737 killed every year.”
Marchers carried signs with sayings including “Never Again” and “Am I Next?”
While the march may be called a leftist movement by those in favor of the Second Amendment, backgrounds and viewpoints varied across the march. Some claimed to be responsible gun owners in favor of gun reform while others pushed for banning the AR-15 altogether.
“Dead, innocent children shouldn’t be handed off to one party. Those bodies could have been a republican, or a democrat, so we must all take action,” said Bend High student Evelyn Diaz, regarding the politics behind the march.
Beyond marching, participants included a woman in Drake Park helping people register to vote and individuals campaigning for places in office.
The national march was organized by survivors of the Parkland, Fla. shooting, including Emma González, David Hogg, and Cameron Kasky. The march in Washington D.C. was funded with the help of celebrities including George Clooney, Steven Spielberg, and Oprah Winfrey.
There were more than 800 events held in solidarity with the march on Washington. Many of these sibling marches were coordinated with the assistance of Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization dedicated to ending gun violence in the United States.
The organizers of this event are now pushing for a day of town halls across the nation on April 7 to discuss gun control issues. They are encouraging students to call their representatives to invite them to attend. For more information, visit townhallproject.com. ■