Central New York, Community, Government, Public Safety

Students in Syracuse Lead Powerful ‘March for our Lives’ Protest

By Elissa Candiotti SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Thousands of people took to the streets in Syracuse to participate in the national March for our Lives rally. High school students led participants along a mile-long route from the Everson Museum to the Federal Building.

“It’s our march and it’s our time to show that this needs to stop and it’s our time to show our voice,” Christian Brothers Academy student Jessa Davison said.

Students lead a congregation after a mile-long march in downtown Syracuse © 2018 Candiotti.

Participants ranged from toddlers to grandparents from all different walks of life, but they all had one common goal in mind: gun reform.

“In our city in particular, I think that this march can not only address the nationwide issue of mass shootings but can also address the issue of gun violence in our own communities,” CBA student Philly Latorre said.

For many students at Jamesville-Dewitt High School, like Rachel Bronstein, the issue of gun violence particularly hits home. She experienced a recent shooting threat in school.

“It was a week after the Parkland shooting,” Bronstein said. “It was just so scary sitting in a room thinking I could die right now.”

That fear was the reason hundreds of students showed up to the March for our Lives rally, including children in elementary school and college students from Syracuse University. Together, they led a congregation in Clinton Square, reading speeches about their missions and chanting songs with the crowd.

Grandmother Susan Valenti was among the many who proudly sang along.

Protesters use chants to fight for stricter gun control laws © 2018 Candiotti.

“I have grandchildren and more to come, and I don’t want to see this happening to my grandchildren,” Valenti said. “It’s important for me to be here because I say enough is enough, as well.”

While many are optimistic about the change that the movement could bring, they are also aware that there can still be a long road ahead. President Trump has proposed the idea of arming teachers to combat mass shootings in schools and many counter-protesters are defending their gun rights.

Davidson remains certain that the March for our Lives has left a mark in history. “Today is the day that shooting stops and student voices are finally heard,” she said.