Included among the many chants students shouted at the “March For Our Lives” event that took place in Gainesville’s Bo Diddly Plaza this weekend: “Vote them out.”
At the event, more than 400 people were present showing their support for the movement and demanding stricter gun laws. Heather Yu Ressler, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Florida, was the march’s organizer.
Yu Ressler said she started the event because she is tired of mass shootings.
“The only thing we’ve done about the mass shootings is grieve, and I’m so tired of grieving,” Yu Ressler said.
She also said seeing guns was commonplace for her growing up, but she believes a change is needed.
“We are not marching to take away firearms,” Yu Ressler said. “We are just marching to have it more difficult to obtain a lethal weapon.”
Children at the march also made sure their voices were heard.
Giselle Perez, 13, said she believes a change will happen.
“ I believe that us all of here can make a change, and cause they want us to be silent but we are not gonna be silent anymore,” Giselle said.
Some Marjory Stoneman Douglas alumni were at the march remembering what it was like learning about the Parkland shooting.
Emaleigh Hutchison, an alumna, said it was a terrifying moment because she knows many people at the high school
“My boyfriend’s little brother goes there and I’ve been with him since we were in Douglas together, so I’ve know the child since he was 11 years old, and it was terrifying,” Hutchison said.
Parents of kids of all ages were also present supporting the student-initiated movement.
“When this little man goes to school in a few years I want him to be able to go and him not having to worry about his safety and me not having to worry about his safety when goes to school every single day,” Denver Parler, a parent at the march, said.
North Florida seniors at the event supported the new generation.
Doug Mercey, 72, said the children are the future, and they deserve to be safe in their schools.
“We have grandchildren; we are here with a whole group of people from Oak Hammock, a retirement community, all of them have children and grandchildren and great grandchildren we want them to be safe,” Mercey said.
As for Yu Ressler, she says she doesn’t expect everyone to agree with this movement, but she will continue to stand for what she believes in.
“I think it’s weird because mass shootings is something that affects everyone not just schools teachers or students, like a mass shooting can happen to everyone of us at any time,” Yu Ressler said.