The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Williston Seniors “March For Our Lives” in Nation’s Capital.

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Credit: Williston.com.

Credit: Williston.com.

Credit: Williston.com.

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On Saturday March 24, five Williston seniors joined others from all over the country to attend Washington D.C’s March for Our Lives protest.

Elise Dunn, Alana Serafino, Lydia Pollard, Shana Hecht, and Jordan Strum, made the trek to D.C, where they witnessed powerful guest speakers, including Emma Gonzalez, Yolanda Renee King (granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr.), Samantha Fuentes, Mya Middleton and multiple other victims of gun violence.

By 4 p.m. there were more than 334,000 people, with over 800 sister marches taking place across the country in cities including Northampton.

Elise said this protest was different from previous ones, notably because of the age of the speakers.

“All of the speakers were our age or younger,” she said. “To see people who are so young, but also old enough to have opinions of their own is empowering. To watch 11-year-old Emma Gonzalez talk about serious issues so candidly was really powerful.”

Gonzalez survived the February 14, 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and founded the gun-control advocacy group Never Again MSD.

Alana Serafino was moved by Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter. “She’s only nine,” Alana said. “That’s crazy. It’s amazing that such a prominent activist’s family is still pushing, especially considering MLK was assassinated with a gun.”

Over the month of March, thousands of students across the country participated in self-organized walkouts to advocate for gun control.

The walkouts saw students leave class for 17 minutes in memory of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting. These walkouts began around 10 a.m. in each time zone.

Perhaps the most touching aspect of the movement that’s sprung up since the Parkland shooting is the age of its participants.

On March 16th, at Briscoe Middle School in Beverly Massachusetts, Jameson Alden ,13 organized his school’s walkout with a couple other friends. [Editor’s note: Jameson is the author’s brother.] Together, they got hundreds of students to participate. Names of the Parkland victims were spoken out loud by the group’s leaders during the 17 minutes.

“The hardest part was getting the word out and getting people not to tell the teachers even though they eventually found out,” Jameson said. “The principal tried to control how we did it, which took away some of the meaning.”

Together, Jameson and his friends got hundreds of students to fill the school’s auditorium for the short period of time. “My favorite part was that we were a part of the movement, getting our message out and having our own voice,” he said. “Most of the school showed up, which was really cool.”

Jameson truly believes kids can make a difference. “People might start to listen to us if we’re rebelling and willing to leave our learning environment to stand up for our own rights.”

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Williston Seniors “March For Our Lives” in Nation’s Capital.