From grandparents to high schoolers, Amherst March for Our Lives draws crowd


Jill Webb and Phil Sanzo

AMHERST — The school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sparked a robust display of activism by students in Parkland, Fla., and across the country.

A month of mourning, grieving and pleading for gun reform culminated with marches that spread from the smallest towns to largest cities. The event, March for Our Lives, occurred on March 24 where people gathered to protest the lack of gun reform in the United States.

IMG-4096In Amherst, Hampshire County residents marched down East Pleasant Street to the Amherst Town Common where organizers and participants gave speeches and chanted.

Phrases like “books not bullets” and “never again” filled the air between speakers.

In Amherst, women like Cynthia Brubaker and Marla Jamate spoke to the crowd about gun reform and how the community can get involved.

Jamate has two children in local public schools and is a member of Moms Demand Action. In her speech to the crowd, she addressed the 830 marches across the country.

Jamate said how activists need to “continue our efforts to make Massachusetts a safe place to go to schools, movie theaters and houses of worship. Free of gun violence.”IMG-4094

Passionate speeches such as the ones given in Amherst, Northampton, Springfield and Boston spread throughout the country.

In Washington D.C., leaders of the movement–high school students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas—spoke to approximately 200,000 people about their experience and their desire for stricter gun laws.

With tears running down her face, Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez talked about how so much carnage occurred in so little time.


“Aliana Petty would never, Cara Loughran would never, Chris Hixon would never,” she said. The list went on and on until all 17 victims were named.

Remaining silent, Gonzalez stared into the distance, leaving the 17 names she had just read to linger in the air above the massive crowd.

Gonzalez didn’t say another word until a phone alarm went off, marking 6 minutes and 20 seconds since she started speaking, the length of time it took the shooter to kill her classmates.

“Fight for your lives, before it is someone else’s job,” Gonzalez said before walking off the stage.

The hundreds of thousands of marchers did not protest without opposition. National Rifle Association talking heads took to social media and broadcast news stations like Fox News to express their frustration with the March.

Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham spoke negatively about Parkland survivor and March for Our Lives organizer David Hogg.

She later issued an apology, which Hogg rejected.