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Young People Lead Charge at March for Our Lives

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"So we all came out together and I saw all kinds of people here and there was one veteran, a Vietnam veteran that really got me today, he had a sweatshirt on and it said "Vietnam veteran" and he had a sign that said "you don't march alone" - and, you know, they're not alone anymore".

A teenage girl with braces and a March for Our Lives T-shirt headed up the roped-off area for students and alumni of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, who would lead the march with civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis.

In this sea of people, I stood not only in the strength of my brothers and sisters, but I was given more hope and inspiration than I could have ever possibly asked for.

"I think that this rally and the momentum that's building around it is showing a lot of people that, oh wait, I can do something and I should be a part of something", Pepe said. "Everywhere and anywhere. Therefore, we are marching to demand 'that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues'".

"Often, we have this notion that, "Oh, they're used to it" - and that's BS", said Steven Berkowitz, director of the Penn Center for Youth and Family Trauma Response and Recovery. We came away very proud of these kids, and also proud of our nation, which is making a shift to end this senseless killing in our schools and neighborhoods.

In one of the largest demonstrations since the Vietnam era, an estimated 800,000 people rallied in the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

"This is the country's capital, this is where all the big guys meet", McCarthy said. "But as long as we're showing our support for getting rid of it and advocating for our lives, I feel like that's something we could do right now".

While one side shows her passionate support though, the other does not, and over the weekend she was targeted - with an image of her tearing up the U.S. constitution widely shared widely by those against changes to gun control laws.

"It's just a really strong feeling that comes over you when you see all of these kids, when you see all of these adults", he said.

With the march over, where do we go from here?

According to HeadCount, a nonpartisan organization that promotes participation in democracy, thousands of people may have already heeded that call. Many carried signs or wore the color orange, which is the official color of gun control advocacy. A number of school-shooting survivors made poignant speeches about the effect that gun violence has had on their lives.

The message was clear: a change needs to be made in how we regulate firearms in our nation.

While I do realize one may want the access of protection from a gun, I just do not understand why a shot gun can not protect you in the case of a break in?

With 1,500 mass shootings in the United States since 2012, we've seen a cycle of apathy. Another, held by a local student, said, "Schools are for learning not lockdowns". She added, "They support safety". Among them were survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman killed 17 people on February 14.

"Gun violence has never been a new issue for me, and especially growing up in this country as a woman of color, gun violence is present not only within our community but through the lens of police brutality", Doumbia said. Zeif's friend Joaquin Oliver was also killed in the Parkland shooting. While the report was later determined to be a hoax, many students recounted the day as a traumatizing experience. "We just need to make change happen, and it will happen if we do it".

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