Activists around the country are preparing for March of Our Lives, a day of protests intended to draw attention to gun violence and demand stronger gun laws. If you live in or near the Big Apple, you may be wondering: What time does New York's March for Our Lives start?
Those in Manhattan who'd like to participate in the March for Our Lives, you'll want to be at the corner of West 72nd Street and Broadway at by 10 a.m. That's when the New York City march begins, according to the protest's official website. The rally and speakers will begin an hour later, but local organizers are asking attendees to show up by 10 a.m. if they'd like to participate. According to the official Facebook event page, over 14,000 people will be in attendance, with an additional 26,000 or so indicating that they're "interested" in marching.
The March for Our Lives was organized in part by survivors of the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were killed in that shooting, and several Stoneman Douglas students who survived subsequently turned their sights to activism. After aggressively questioning lawmakers at a town hall on guns in February, several of the young activists organized the March for Our Lives to draw attention to gun violence in America, and specifically at schools.
Now, five weeks after the Parkland shooting, more than 800 marches are scheduled to take place across several continents on March 24th. According to co-organizer Sarah Chadwick, a student at Stoneman Douglas who's become one of the most visible faces of the movement, there is now a March for Our Lives planned for every continent.
"On March 24, the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today," the official website for the march reads.
Although the March For Our Lives, as with all protests, is largely about creating a large, visible demonstration in hopes of drawing attention to a cause, the activists behind the protest have three specific policy demands as well: They want to ban the sale of assault rifles, ban the sale of high-capacity magazines, and close loopholes in the FBI's national background check system for gun purchases.
"We support the right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms, as set forth in the United States Constitution," a petition and pseudo-manifesto on the March For Our Lives website reads. "But with that right comes responsibility. We call on all the adults in Congress elected to represent us, to pass legislation that will protect and save children from gun violence." Over 251,000 people have signed the petition so far.
The Parkland shooting reignited the long-running public debate over America's gun laws and, more broadly, America's gun culture. The U.S. has the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world, according to a 2011 study, and a research paper published in March found that guns are now the third-leading cause of death for American children. Earlier in March, activists placed 7,000 pairs of shoes on the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol to commemorate the 7,000 children who've been killed by guns in America since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.
Florida responded to the Parkland shooting by passing a package of gun laws that, in addition to placing restrictions on firearm purchases, made it legal for certain school employees to be armed on school campuses. A week after that law was signed, two school employees in other states who were armed accidentally fired their guns on campus, injuring three students in the process.