Photos Of "Youth Over Guns" March In New York City Show Thousands Joined The Student-Led Rally
The youth-led activism isn't over yet, not a chance. On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators gathered in New York City for the "Youth Over Guns" rally, protesting in support of gun control. And suffice to say, these photos of the Youth Over Guns event show just how driven by young people ― in particular students ― this movement is.
Young people across the country have been leading the charge for gun control activism for months now, in large part an outcome of the deadly school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida back in February. Following the shooting, which claimed the lives of 17 people, 14 of them students, many of the survivors have taken up the cause of gun safety reform, calling for legislative action, and organizing large-scale national protests.
In this case, Youth Over Guns reportedly collaborated with March For Our Lives NY to put together the event. March For Our Lives was formed by the Parkland activists and held a massive rally in Washington, D.C. back in March. According to The Hill, Youth Over Guns co-founder Ramon Contreras took a wide view of the scale of America's gun violence problem.
"Gun violence extends beyond the pull of a trigger," Contreras said. "Some of the roots, it goes to a lack of funding, and lack of effort towards our public school educational system and lack of funding towards local gun violence prevention groups who work on this issue for years now and work on the ground with students, and they are getting the funding and attention that they need."
It's plain to see from the many photos taken at Youth Over Guns ― which included a march on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge ― that young people are responding to this movement in a big way. Here are some of the sights seen during the demonstrations on Saturday.
At the beginning of the march in Staten Island, March For Our Lives NY co-founder and organizer John Papanier referenced the Waffle House shooting that transpired in April. The shooting was thwarted by an unarmed man named James Shaw Jr., who heroically wrestled the gun away from the shooter.
It Was Great Marching
The Youth Over Guns rally was joined by Zion Kelly, a student activist who spoke movingly during the March For Our Lives about losing his brother to gun violence.
Thousands Are Descending
The focal point of the march was the Brooklyn Bridge, which connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Thousands of demonstrators flooded onto the bridge's pedestrian walkway, making their presence felt in a big way.
The marching crowd was drenched in orange, which has become the preferred color of solidarity for gun control demonstrations. The National Rifle Association (NRA), the country's largest and most powerful pro-gun lobbying group, took an antagonistic tone to this color choice on Friday morning, insisting that the traditional hunting color is theirs.
An Epidemic That Congress Must Address
Democratic representative Carolyn Maloney, currently facing a primary challenge, also showed up for the march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Maloney is a nine-term member of Congress.
Such A Vital Movement
The Youth Over Guns demonstration was also attended by Aalayah Eastmond, a survivor of the Parkland shooting who also participated in the March For Our Lives in Washington back in March.
Some Celebrities Joined In, Too
As the above photo tweeted out by the Youth Over Guns Twitter account shows, a pair of well-known pro-gun control celebrities, Julianne Moore and Susan Sarandon, also joined in on the march.
One Step Closer
The legislative battle for gun control pushes up against a challenging reality: it's estimated that there are more than 300 million guns in the United States, while the total population of the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is approaching 328 million. In other words, there's nearly one gun for every person in America, although a marked minority of Americans are in possession of those guns.
Regardless of the challenges, however, it's clear that youth activists and organizers plan on continuing this fight, and trying to keep gun violence in the spotlight as a pivotal national issue. It remains to be seen whether the midterm elections might leave the Congress more receptive to the idea, although with President Donald Trump in office, the odds of any such legislation being signed into law are not good.