Over 4,000 People Attend March For Our Lives Protest in Ann Arbor

“Something is changing because we’ve got a secret weapon: all of you people; all of the youth. Your whole lives, people have been telling you that you’re the future. Well, guess what? You are the present and the time is now,” said Omkar Karthikeyan, MD at the March For Our Lives in Ann Arbor.

On March 24, Ann Arbor had its own march that took place at Pioneer High School. Its goal was the same as other marches across the US that day: to demand a local and national response that leads to a change in gun control.

This march was one of many nationwide. Supporters came together, demanding attention and an amendment leading to stricter gun control. Recent events, such as the Parkland shooting in Florida, have ignited a passionate fight and louder voice, especially to young marchers. This march was one of many in Michigan. Others were held in Downtown Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Flint, Saginaw and Marquette, as well as other communities.

The march began at 11 a.m. and ended at 2 p.m. It featured many speakers including Liana Trevino, a survivor of the Las Vegas shooting, state representative Yousef Rabhi and US representative Debbie Dingell.

Ann Arbor News reported more than four thousand people attended the march. The march started at Pioneer High School and snaked through the streets in the area. From 11  to about 11:30 a.m. there was live music from Gemini, a well-known and local band in Michigan.   Tables were laid out to sell merchandise, sign petitions, meet other organizations and offer voter registration. The speeches began around 11:45 a.m.

The march was unequivocally inclusive, as it took the necessary precautions to create an environment for anyone of all ages by encouraging kid-friendly posters and going to great lengths to welcome those with disabilities. There were ADA compliant bathrooms as well as an ASL interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing. There was also an appointed area for people using wheelchairs and seating for individuals who were not able to stand throughout the whole length of the event.

The speeches were heavily focused on encouraging everyone to maintain their passion for this cause until November and take it to the voting booths, where they claimed the biggest difference could be made.

“I believe in you; I believe in all of us; I believe that we, united, will march, not just today: we will march to November and we will take our country back,” said Rabhi.

A  recurring theme from the speakers was a message to the younger crowd, encouraging the next generation to be the ones who will make a difference. They also promised to listen and do everything they can to further empower the young people.

“We want to listen to the young people because they are the voices that are going to finally make the difference. We’ve heard the words and the time is now for action,” said Dingell.

Congresswoman Dingell also shared her personal experience with gun violence. She told the crowd of having had to stop her father from shooting a gun in her own home, feeling too embarrassed and powerless against the threat the gun posed against her family to tell the police.

“I called the police and they didn’t come. We were embarrassed back then, we had no power of words,” said Dingell.

Students from P-CEP also joined in, and contributed to the march.

“It’s insane to even think about getting teachers rifles or anything of that sort because people are people: they get angry and they have emotions. Guns need to be harder to get,” said Maeve Curran, Salem senior who attended the march.