By Stefanie Donahue
Inspired by young gun control advocates across the nation, two Blaine High School students are organizing ‘March For Our Lives’ as part of a worldwide protest of mass shootings at U.S. schools.
“We want to take a stand against senseless gun violence,” said Aurora Edwards, 15. “Children should be able to come to school and feel safe,” added Emma Breedlove, 16.
Edwards and Breedlove are 10th graders at Blaine High School who are leading the March For Our Lives event, which will begin at noon on Saturday, March 24 at H Street and Mitchell Avenue.
Students across the country created March For Our Lives and are calling on lawmakers to pass legislation that aims to protect children from gun violence. Kids and families will take to the streets in more than 700 locations for March For Our Lives on March 24.
In addition to the march this month, March For Our Lives encourages people to sign a petition that calls on lawmakers to ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and to tighten background check laws – as of March 14, more than 221,000 people had signed it.
Edwards said she was encouraged to organize the march by her guidance counselor, Rick Vander Yacht. He said he was inspired after “hundreds” of students at the Blaine school district walked out of class for 17 minutes last month in remembrance of the 17 individuals that were fatally shot at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14.
“I think it’s really cool when students have an opinion and lend their voice,” Vander Yacht said. “It was very powerful to see a couple hundred students in silence for the victims.” During the brief vigil, he said he was particularly inspired by Edwards because he could see her passion.
Edwards and Breedlove said they’ve received a lot of support from their peers at school and from the administration and staff. Edwards said her grandpa, Jeff Schamel, made homemade signs for the march, which can be seen throughout town. The city has also granted a permit for the event.
The route will start at the parking lot located at the corner of H Street and Mitchell Avenue. Marchers will proceed to downtown and end up at Peace Arch Park, where Edwards and her dad, Robert Edwards, will lead separate speeches. After, guests will have the chance to speak.
“As a guidance counselor and as a teacher, it’s so neat to see students get their voice heard,” Vander Yacht said. “You can’t argue with school safety.”
To learn more about March For Our Lives, visit marchforourlives.com.