Started in early 2018, March For Our Lives is an activist organization led by students and survivors of the Parkland, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting who advocate for gun reform in America. Last year, the march was one for the history books, but the same cannot be said for 2019.
In 2018, they organized what USA Today said “could be the biggest single-day protest in D.C.” In addition to Washington, March For Our Lives had marches, rallies and protests in Atlanta, Miami, Huston, Boston and more, including right at home in Columbia.
Last year, the organization took many steps to make the protest as loud and proud as it could be. They had many survivors talk at the events, including Emma Gonzalez, the main spokesperson for the organization, who made an impact by giving a speech which included standing in silence for four minutes and 26 seconds. On top of that, they had many celebrity guests and highly renowned political figures speak, such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Platt and Rep. John Lewis.
This year was not met with the same enthusiasm.
Not only was there a large lack of publicity, but there was little to no organization in the event this year, and very few people showed up compared to last year. In South Carolina alone, there wasn’t even a march. It was just a rally.
The same, or something similar, occurred in many other places where there were large demonstrations last year. Everyone in Columbia that I have talked to about the event seemed unaware there was even going to be a rally here.
The lack of publicity and organization of the event makes it seem like the message is not as important as it was a year ago. However, that is not the case.
In today’s political climate, it is easy to push one movement back in favor of another, but we cannot let that allow us to forget about the ones that matter most, especially in a college town. Students must push that not one more life will be lost to gun violence, and it is upsetting to see it get lost in the cracks this year.