The young, the old, and everyone in between swarmed into Theis Park on Saturday, Mar., 24, carrying hand painted signs and the sounds of a song for social and legislative change. The rally officially began at noon, but people had been trickling in before that.
By 1 p.m. a sizable crowd had gathered near a stage set opposite the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, listening to students and adults share testimonies, perform, and give calls to action with ralliers. The group gathered to support gun reform and stand (or march) with many around the country doing the same. KCC Junior Sasha Reid attended the event and was moved.
“It was so surreal-It really brought me peace and hope knowing that there were so many of us that shared the same beliefs,” Reid said. “To be honest, it healed so much of the anger and sadness I was dealing with after the Parkland shooting. The march itself is a symbol of hope.”
Around 3 p.m., the march began. The now large crowd now filed over to the sidewalk and began to march. The crowd and chants were led by local youth. As the march began, marchers were spurred to let the young people lead, since the goal of the movement is to stop school shootings and other gun violence. The importance of keeping the peace was also emphasized.
KCC student Day Newman appreciated the opportunity to speak out for social change in her own city.
“I think that from any point of view, it’s crazy and definitely eye opening to see so many people from different walks of life who all believe in something come together,” Newman said.
The march lasted for about an hour, during which the protestors walked around the plaza, eventually rounding back to Theis park. For many students this was their first experience with civic activism.
“It was my first time and it was just amazing,” Reid said. “It just felt so good knowing that I could be a part of a movement that I care so much about[…]It’s just beautiful to see all these people who want nothing but an end to this issue.”