The Powerful Reasons These Young People Of Color Joined The March For Our Lives

credit: Stefany Ruiz

On February 14, the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School rocked the community of Parkland, Fla. and once again brought the issue of gun violence to the forefront of U.S. politics. In response, students organized demonstrations across the country to spur action from lawmakers. At the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC, we asked Latinxs and other people of color why they chose to take a stand.

1. Emily Rooksby, 16, Cuban-American

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“Younger people need to make change because clearly a lot of adults aren’t doing it. And if this is what we want, we should be the ones marching for it.”

2. Symone Napper, 17, African American

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“The things that I want to be focusing on in life are my education and bettering myself. I don’t want to have to worry about whether or not I’m going to live or die when I come to school every day.”

3. Angel Carballo, 17, Dominican

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“Change doesn’t happen by just sitting down and mourning. You have to take action, and that’s why I’m here.”

4. Devany Corvera, 17 Peruvian (with friends Marisa Fujimoto, 17, and Hannah Johnson, 17)

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“We’re working for something that has been a problem for so long and it’s finally time to speak up and do something about it.”

5. Darcie Velez, 38, Puerto Rican

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“I’m an educator. I’ve been teaching for nine years at a pre-school, and the fear that these children have to go through every single day has to stop.”

6. Pamela Makari, 38, Lebanese

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“I’m demanding control over arms because this is not acceptable. People do not need war guns in America to feel safe.”

7. Havisha Annamreddy, 20, Indian

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“You shouldn’t be scared to learn. Hopefully more people will be aware … I know that it might not make a direct change but you have to speak up for yourself.”

8. Alysia Smith, 29, African American

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“I feel like Black voices and people of color have been left out of this conversation, and I felt it was really important to remind people here [at the march] that gun violence has been a problem for people of color for centuries.”

9. Angie Snow, 15, Honduran-Irish

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“You never know when another shooting could happen, so I wanted to make sure that I was a part of helping the movement.”

10. Matthew Carter, 23, African American

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“I would like to see tighter laws. Anyone can get their hands on a weapon right now.”

11. Andrea Leal, 32, Guatemalan-American (with daughter Alexandra Leal, 10)

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“I can’t imagine being a parent and losing a child to gun violence in school.”

12. Bridgett Figueroa, 25, Mexican-American

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“I came to the march because it’s an important issue that affected me personally. I went to UCSB [the University of California, Santa Barbara], and Isla Vista was a town that experienced gun violence.”

13. Jocelyn Avalos, 20, Mexican-American

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“I came because I believe that students should be able to go to school without worrying about their lives.”

14. Ana Valentin, 69, Puerto Rican (with grandson Giovanni Ayala, 13)

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“We are fighting for no more guns in our lives.”

15. Lizette Garza, 27, Mexican-American (with representatives from After School Matters)

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“It’s important to speak on behalf of the violence that’s happening in Chicago and [give] opportunities to young people to use their voice in [a] larger platform.”

16. Rosalia Gratereaux, 18, Dominican (with friend Celia Gerhardt, 17)

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“I think it’s important to use your voice for what you believe in, and I believe in what these kids from Florida are doing.”

17. James Brown, 20, African American

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“I want to make sure that schools are safe, that kids are safe, and that no one is out there senselessly killing each other.”

18. Chelsea Vasquez, 17, Salvadoran-American

(Photo Credit: Stefany Ruiz)

“This is something we have to do. We have to get their attention. How loud do we have to shout for them to hear us?”

Read: When Emma Gonzalez Leads The March For Our Lives, She’ll Be Following In The Footsteps Of These Latina Civil Rights Leaders

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