Mobile also played host to its own “March for our Lives Event.” Several people packed the grounds at Public Safety Memorial Park Saturday afternoon. Some carried signs with slogans like “Arms are for hugs. Protect our children not guns” and “One child is worth more than all the guns on earth.”
The rally was held in conjunction with the larger “March for Our Lives” event in the nation’s capital. The movement has grown out of last month’s school shooting in Parkland Florida. Organizers were calling for stricter gun laws in the hope new legislation could prevent future school shootings.
“Beyond just changing the laws we want people to know that this is not just something that is partisan,” said student organizer Chole Duren. She’s a 16-year-old Murphy High School student. “We’re doing this because we don’t feel safe at school. A lot of people think that’s an exaggeration but it’s not. This needs to change because when I send my kids to school in the future I don’t want them to have to do active shooter drills where they’re crying in the corner.” Duren also said she got a lot of good feedback as they were putting this together and is proud of the turnout.
“We’re in the deep south where a lot of things are more conservative and things like this are harder to plan the fact we even have this kind of turnout is amazing,” said Duren. The rally did have one oversight to deal with. Organizers apparently failed to clear the event with the city and get the proper permitting in place. Another event already planned for Saturday was using the pavilion where they planned to have speeches. Duren said the group that was already in place would allow the “March for Our Lives” speakers to use their sound system for remarks before the group marched around the park.
Over in Pensacola, hundreds of people also took to the streets. The march took place in Downtown Pensacola and was meant to spread awareness on common sense gun reform.
Local students organized the march in Pensacola with support from local organizations. Cindy Martin says she lost her son back in 2012, and she wanted to come to the march to support the students.
She says she feels the pain of anyone who’s lost a loved one to gun violence.
“I’m a firm believer in our second amendment rights,” Martin said. “I believe we have the right to bear arms, but with restrictions.”