Students set to march across the nation, demanding change


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Students are marching across the nation's cities Saturday to protest gun violence.

Much like the protests that helped stop the Vietnam War and advance the Civil Rights Movement two generations ago, students today are taking similar action to stop gun violence.

These students are part of Generation Z, comprised of young people born between 1995 and 2003. They have never lived in a world without technology and the internet. They are also willing to resist the status quo.

Numerous protests have been held by high school students across the nation in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14. They are demanding that Congress take legislative action to help prevent future shootings.

They have the nation’s attention and the spotlight will be shining brightly Saturday, as numerous March for Our Lives rallies are scheduled in cities across America, including in Boston and Worcester.

The largest rally is slated to take place in the nation’s capital.

“Just because of our age, that doesn’t mean we can’t be structured and be smart about our actions because this is about our future,” Haley Zink, 21, who is helping to organize a march in St. Louis, told Vox. “This is the world we grew up in, and this is the world we have sitting out in front of us. Most of us have never gone to school in a place where gun violence was not normalized, and that is not okay. And so we have to take it in our hands to fix it.”

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Shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez has become a face of the protest movement.

Many students, including Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez, have delivered fiery, passionate speeches that have gone viral on the internet and made headlines in countless publications. She has helped to inspire others and instilled the idea that students, although teenagers, are educated and motivated enough to drive real change.

Where inchoate movements of the past stalled and fizzled before they could mature into something capable of sparking action in Washington, Generation Z is not backing off and it is utilizing the power of social media to control the discussion.

The Los Angeles Times described it as “a generation maligned for being too soft and spilling all on social media was ready when a real cause came along.” These young people were not willing to let this shooting fade into memory like others of the past.

Cameron Kasky, another student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, was interviewed by ABC and questioned about his and his generation’s stance and approach.

“We are going to be marching together as students begging for our lives,” he said. “This isn’t about the GOP. This isn’t about the Democrats. This is about the adults. We feel neglected. At this point, you are either with us or against us.”

Their actions have already started to put the pressure on organizations such as the National Rifle Association and companies affiliated with it. It prompted Dick’s Sporting Goods to terminate all sales of assault-style weapons and a host of other companies to cut promotional ties with the NRA.  

These are significant developments. After years of the nation being resigned to the status quo, the time for lasting change may be at hand.

“A march to get the entire country to unite under one cause — it is the ultimate show of prominence and support and just rage toward the things that have been happening in our country for so long,” said Delaney Tarr, 17, another student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the clear epicenter of the movement.