Students from across the state rallied together on March 24, marching from West High School to the Utah State Capitol in protest of the threat of gun violence in schools.
This student-led protest was first established by students in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14. March for our Lives SLC was one of more than 800 similar marches throughout the country.
While marching, students held posters and chanted phrases like “Books not bullets” and “Never again.” They also wore handmade price tags of $0.17, representing how valuable they felt their lives were to lawmakers.
Children, parents, grandparents, teachers and even dogs also attended the rally in support of gun reform. Police estimate that 8,000 people were in attendance.
Robert Haro and Sonia Guzman, both grandparents, attended the event out of concern for their lawmaker’s interests.
“The congressmen that we have right now don’t really represent the people. They represent lobbyists,” Haro said.
Students Seth Rounds, Armida Calderon and Dana Rounds sat on the hill anticipating the protesters to arrive. They said they wanted to be heard and seen by lawmakers.
“It means so much more that the fact that this is run by high schoolers, because we are in the end the most effect(ed) … by all these shootings,” Calderon said.
March for Our Lives SLC had six student-organizers give speeches: one sang “Imagine” by John Lennon and another performed slam poetry.
Samantha Love was one of the speakers at the rally. She called on parents to continue helping these students with their fight.
“Today we are not children anymore, and we refuse to be afraid,” Love said.
Because students at her school started to view shootings as nothing to fear, Ben Lomond High School student Han Johnson wanted to help organize the march.
“My generation has grown in fear and blind trust of the system. With each shooting, we get a little more upset, and now we’re done,” Johnson said.
Johnson believes the march served as a way to unify the community and the next generation.
“I think my generation wants to be the next generation of political leaders and activists. March For Our Lives is a stepping stone for us,” Johnson said.
Students worldwide have now become a part of the protest and are becoming more politically engaged.
Voterise was at the event helping students register to vote. Students like Natalia Sosa began pre-registering as early as March 16.
“I think when the time does come to vote, that needs to happen, and not just let other people do it,” Sosa said.