A drive to Washington for the March for Our Lives

Follow the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., through the eyes of a group of Northside Achievement Zone students, there from Minneapolis.

The D.C. event began at noon and drew hundreds of thousands of people. Back in St. Paul, thousands gathered for one of more than 800 companion marches planned around the world today.

     Powerful, alive, with "hope for the better"

     
    The Minneapolis students crowded in with hundreds of thousands of others on Pennsylvania Avenue today, calling for an end to gun violence in a rally with speakers and performers from across the country.

    “It was very powerful, I actually ended up crying,” Antiquita said.

    Antiquita said she’s lost family members and friends to gun violence, so the experience “brought back memories, traumatized memories.” Several of today’s speakers have also felt those impacts. The program featured dozens of students from elementary through high school, including survivors of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

    Still, Antiquita said her tears were “more hope tears than sad tears, just hope for better.” It was meaningful, she said, “to be able to empower each other to do better and do more than what we did today and to not just go home and let everything be normal … to know that the moment we keep quiet is the moment the NRA wins.”

    Crowds packing the street prevented the Minneapolis students from reaching the stage where musicians like Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson and Lin-Manuel Miranda were performing. But Antiquita said big-screen projectors brought the words and music up close.

    Andre had a few extra inches that gave him an advantage. “I am six-foot-three, so I got some height on me. I was able to stand on my tippy-toes and see crowds of people as far back as possible,” he said. “I felt very alive. I felt like I was a part of something very great.”

    Keirra said the passion and seriousness of the crowd struck her. “You could definitely see the trauma that people went through due to gun violence,” she said. “I felt a little bit overwhelmed.”

    Later, the Minneapolis students boarded a bus for home and settled in for a ride of about 17 hours that will put them back in Minneapolis Sunday afternoon. They were tired from the long day, but they resolved not to let today’s march be the end of the story.

    “I’m definitely going to keep talking about it, especially to the younger generation, so that they’re aware of what’s going on. I have lost a lot of friends to gun violence, and I don’t want to see anybody else lose their friends,” Andre said.

    “I’m going to do whatever I can to make a change with gun violence … We’re going to make a change, Minnesota is going to do something about it, and this won’t happen ever again,” Antiquita said.
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