We marched along the asphalt roads with our hearts and minds roaring with emotion. Our passionate chants of “this is what democracy looks like”, “kids not guns”, and “enough is enough” reverberated through the streets and off the brick buildings. We held up our handmade posters to the sky proudly, gaining momentum and strength. I glanced around at the protesters surrounding me.
I saw women, men, children, parents, students, the elderly, Muslims, teachers; a fascinating plethora of races, genders, religions, and ages all rallied for one important cause. I saw one toddler in a stroller, unaware of what was happening. When his blue milk bottle tumbled to the ground, I picked it up with a smile and set it in his cup holder. The hundreds of us stopped in front of the James M. Hanley Federal Building to hear speeches from the organizers of the march. Listening to the high schoolers with zeal in their cracking voices, the sense of unity in the assembly tightened.
I felt my heart beating in my chest with a new vibrancy. More than ever, I was reminded that unity did not mean uniformity, it meant that all of us shared the same purpose. We agreed that innocent children should not be shot dead in their classrooms, that parents should not have to lose their 7 year old second graders to a lunatic with a gun, that the government should not accept the 13,000 senseless killings every year of America’s youth and do absolutely nothing to counter or fix the situation. In our beliefs and ideas we were connected, setting aside the fact that we came from different backgrounds, had dissimilar appearances, and were not in the same political group.
We confidently joined with one another to be a resisting force against injustice. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.,
“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice and peace.”
Hope was a word alive in everyone’s thoughts that day. Hope for gun control laws, hope for security in schools, hope for a protected America; but most importantly hope for continued solidarity among people fighting for what was right. With each sentence the young activists yelled, the cheers of the crowd grew in volume and spirit. As the orations came to a close that day, the crowd gave one last robust cry and all of our voices merged into one beautiful entity.