March 26th, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
What does one do when on vacation in Las Vegas?
Attend a rally against gun violence, of course.
Over 5,000 people of all ages came to the March For Our Lives rally in Las Vegas in order to express how incredibly sick they are of people they love, being taken from them as a result of gun violence. To some, it may not seem like a rally can make a difference, but if anything, the unity and compassion shown at the rally in Las Vegas is a telltale sign of change being made. The fact that anything at all was being done about the countless shootings in the United States after, years of sitting back and watching it happen, was empowering. The rally released pent up frustration, pain, grievances and resentment, and was an incredibly potent example of youth activism, togetherness, peaceful protesting, intersectional activism, and effective usage of privilege.
The fact that these rallies were organized by youth is inspiring, especially to people like myself and many other young people that I know. I personally felt a spark of empowerment when I saw black girls around my age, leading chants and walking in front of a sea of people marching for their lives. There are millions of children, teenagers, and young adults watching as countries get bombed, children get shot, people get discriminated against, and injustice continually surrounds us all. We are told we can change the world, but as we sit back and watch it crash and burn, many of us don’t know where to start. The students at Parkland, as well as the numerous other young people around the world who fight for a better future, give me hope. They remind me that we are powerful, we are competent, and together, we can make a change.
At the march, my father embarrassingly made me take a photo with two complete strangers. After the photo was taken, I told them that I was on vacation, and that I was from Canada. They immediately reached out to hug my father and I, and thanked us for showing up and supporting them. This is a perfect example of what my experience at the march continued to be. People (and animals, specifically dogs) of all ages, genders, physical appearance and walks of life smiled at each other, hugged one another, and called for action together. This event connected people from across America. It hit close to home, allowed people to truly empathize with one another, and created an atmosphere of hope and perseverance. This kind of connection alone is a magical thing that seldom happens in our world; I felt honoured to be a part of it.
I was moved to tears by the intersectional activism that was presented at the march. I watched as in his first speech of the day, the young man on the megaphone screamed that this march was for the black and brown people who have been gunned down in the streets of the United States, and have not been acknowledged. This was an absolutely crucial part of this rally. March For Our Lives was an event against gun violence, and as mentioned multiple times throughout the rally, black people, brown people, and women are most often victims of gun violence, yet these incidences do not go recognized or acknowledged. As a result, gun violence against minorities have become a norm in American society, and the March For Our Lives rally recognized that this is absolutely unacceptable. This recognition is an example of people utilizing their privilege in order to be a voice for those who are not given one. The majority of youth originally involved in organizing the March For Our Lives movement were white, and they used this position of power to spread awareness about the minorities and other groups who are victimized more than most had previously realized.
March For Our Lives was an incredible event, but it is important for us all to recognize that it wasn’t just a moment. Many will not stop until something is done about the atrocious amount of gun violence occurring in the United States. Over 4,000 people registered to vote across America at the rally, which was a result of the emphasis on democracy that was clearly displayed through the rally. Voices will be heard, because as we called together: this is what democracy looks like.
For our highlights of March For Our Lives Las Vegas, check out our Instagram @livehopelyfe!
To learn more about what you can do: https://marchforourlives.com/
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We would like to express that although this event was an incredible success, many still are not given the privilege to have their voices be heard. We would like to acknowledge this, and send our love and support to those who cannot speak up, for whatever reason that may be. We would like to recognize that violence in general is a complex and multifaceted issue, and that it exists everywhere in the world. Please join us in trying to do our part in using our privilege to spread peace, understanding, love, empathy, and hope.