By Emma Carlsen
A resurgence of American democracy, mostly by youth, has gripped the country.
“I’m here to show support for those who died at the hands of gun violence and participate in our democracy,” Gwyneth Hernandez, Riverside STEM Academy student, said.
A crowd of a few hundred advocates for gun reform gathered as part of a national protest outside the Riverside County Superior Court on March 24.
These advocates marched as a part of March For Our Lives, a student-based group that fights against the National Rifle Association for stricter gun laws such as universal background checks.
Riverside residents joined millions across the country who protested on behalf of the victims from the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting to voice their anger about the lack of gun control.
“The government has stayed silent about this for too long,” Arpita Kanrar, Riverside STEM Academy student, said. “It’s time to demand change and we deserve to feel safe in our schools.”
The protesters marched one lap around downtown Riverside before returning to the courthouse.
Attendees varied from elementary students to grandparents. One woman carried a sign that doubled as a walking stick. Many mothers pushed young children in strollers as their older siblings held posters. Rep. Mark Takano also attended the march.
Large neon banners hanging from the courthouse stairs read “#Enough” and “#NeverAgain.” Speakers led chants like “student power today, voter power tomorrow.”
One counter protester was present, holding a sign urging others to protect their Second Amendment rights.
“I’m here to inform people about the Second Amendment,” Stephen Reed said. “It’s here to protect them against a tyrannical government.”
A high school student spoke about the need for gun reform to end the march.
“There is gun violence all over this country, killing people who don’t deserve to die,” Michaela Nash, student at Arizona’s Madison Park Middle School, said.