In photos: March For Our Lives in Washington

Photojournalist Debra Friedman attended the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, DC, on March 24


My first march on Washington. It was hard not to feel elated and excited despite the gravitas of the message. These young people were mad as hell and they just weren’t going to take it any more.

As I walked along Pennsylvania Ave., the street was flooded with families, couples and of course, teenagers who had come from all parts of the country to ride this wave. They had to be here, they said.

When Cameron Kasky, a student from Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, got on stage and welcomed the masses to the revolution, the crowd went wild.

This protest was in response to the killing of 17 students from Parkland just five weeks ago. In that short time, students from Stoneman Douglas galvanized, focused and pulled off a remarkably organized event that was flawless.

The one and only odd ball in the crowd was a pro-life advocate barking into a megaphone that was met with jeers and derision. He picked the wrong crowd. No one was going to ruin the vibe.

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Debra Friedman

Clever and articulate, these young people spoke with heartbreaking eloquence – about how “thoughts and prayers” just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Nothing would do but new legislation for common-sense gun laws, and that if the NRA was in your pocket, you were not serious about fixing this problem.

Emma Gonzales, by now a familiar representative of this movement stood for an interminable six and a half minutes in silence, representing the time it took the killer to complete his carnage, before she spoke. We could all get a visceral sense of how terribly long that can be when there is a shooter wreaking havoc in your school and you aren’t sure if you might be next in the crosshairs.

It is easy to forget that these students are as young as they are – so clear, so smart and so impassioned with their message. When Samantha Fuentes, who was wounded in the Parkland shooting, stood up to speak, she looked out at the hundreds of thousands of people facing her and promptly threw up behind the lectern. Regaining her composure, she laughed and cried out, “I just threw up on international television and it feels great!”

Teenagers are nothing if not resilient. Really gives one hope.

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Debra Friedman

news@nowtoronto.com | @nowtoronto

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