March for our Lives was the first march I ever participated in. The first half was a shockingly disappointing experience. Three hours into the day, I had unintentionally made my way up to the front of the line, where people were pushing and shoving just to get photographed by the press. Not only was that extremely uncivilized, I also felt personally offended; my friends are dead, and people who claim to be marching for them value something as petty as camera time.
I tried to let go of my anger and make the most out of my remaining time. This did not happen. Abandoned posters lined the streets, and people had been cheering for so long that their chants had turned from meaningful protests into meaningless strings of words. After a mere few hours, people were already losing interest in the cause. But I was no exception to this. I had stopped chanting and raising my poster. The weather was cold and miserable, I was famished, and we had been walking for hours.
Our lack of enthusiasm was depressing because this was the least we could do to support victims of gun violence. The march was the first step in making a difference, but it felt like the movement had already begun to die down. It has only been one month since the tragic shooting in Parkland, Fla., and people are already losing interest. It was unsurprising that people were more energetic earlier on in the day, but change will only occur if people continue fighting even after they have become tired. As effective as marches are, it is more important for people to maintain their passion for stricter gun control and remember the consequences of gun violence by writing, talking, and posting about the issue.
I had and still have many mixed feelings about the actual march, but this should not be taken the wrong way; I am grateful for everyone who went to support this fight for stricter gun control, but the thousands of people passionate about March for Our Lives need to stand in solidarity not just for one march. The moving and motivating speakers I heard at the march must continue to share their personal experiences with gun violence, and the thousands of marchers I stood alongside must continue to listen and rally together. The government is currently more concerned about the National Rifle Association (N.R.A.) cutting their funding in response to gun control than minimizing the mass shootings we have seen far too often. It is up to us to show them that the lives of innocent children are much more valuable than the N.R.A.’s money.
Cameron Kang is a Junior from Parkland, Fla. Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org