At the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., are leading the fight for gun control with moving speeches given to a massive crowd rallying close to the Capitol Building. Parkland survivor Sam Fuentes, who was struck by a bullet and shrapnel during the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 of her classmates, took the stage at the March for Our Lives to read a poem she'd written and had a totally natural reaction to publicly speaking in front of that many people: She got sick on stage. And she also took it like a total champ, quipping, "I just threw up on international television and it feels great," according to a tweet from CBS reporter Lauren Pastrana.
After throwing up onstage, Fuentes powered through the rest of her poem, which Hollywood Life transcribed: "We’re not asking for a ban, we’re asking for compromise. Forget your sides and colors, let’s save one another. [...] Use efficient regulation that doesn’t make any exception. Close the cracks and loopholes with thorough background checks and psychological evaluation. Protect our schools like we do our other government establishments. Use security protocol methods that are efficient.
"And one more request," Fuentes continued. "Listen. Our mission is simple and our ambitions are unbeatable. Let’s keep the guns out of the hands of the wrong people, and keep them in the hands of the safe and reasonable. So either you can join us, or be on the side of history who prioritized their guns over the lives of others."
The March for Our Lives in D.C. was planned and championed by survivors of the Parkland shooting, but hundreds of sibling marches"were planned across the country and around the world as students, teachers, parents, survivors of school shootings and celebrities take their defiant message against gun violence and the gun lobby to the seats of power," CNN reported. In Boston's sibling march, "march organizers asked participants over age 21 to take their places behind students spearheading the struggle," in a move that centers the students who are facing a nation with more than one school shooting per week.
Fuentes also expressed desire to join rallies like the March for Our Lives to spread the message that comprehensive gun control laws are needed now. "As I'm recovering and taking my online courses, that's when I'd like to take the chance to travel, and speak to large audiences, spread my message, speak to lawmakers, attend rallies, be everywhere I need to be so that people can hear me clearly," she told CNN.
Fuentes received a call from Donald Trump in the wake of the shooting, and told The New York Times she'd "never been so unimpressed by a person in my life." She explained, "He said he heard that I was a big fan of his, and then he said, ‘I’m a big fan of yours too.’ I’m pretty sure he made that up." She added, "He didn't make me feel better in the slightest."
During the Parkland shooting, Fuentes was shot in both legs and still has shrapnel behind her cheek and eye. The shrapnel pieces won't be taken out, because "[to] remove them would be more invasive than to leave them," Fuentes told CNN. She also told CNN she did not plan to return to Marjory Stoneman Douglas and would complete her diploma requirements through online courses. "I want to be a part of Stoneman Douglas and I want to live out the rest of my high school career normally. But there's no such thing as normal anymore," she explained. A friend of Fuentes' family is running a GoFundMe to help pay her medical bills. You can contribute here.