LA Children Make Their Voices Heard During the 'March for Our Lives'
By Anabel Marquez | Photos by Roxie Fuller
Raising signs, playing music, chanting loudly and holding their parents' hands, thousands of Los Angeles children took to the streets of Downtown on Saturday, March 24.
They participated in the "March for Our Lives" rally in solidarity with other young men and women across the country who are demanding stricter gun control laws following the tragic Feb. 14 shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The Florida shooting, perpetrated by 17-year old Nikolas Cruz, claimed the lives of seventeen students and was the latest in a series of mass violence incidents involving semi-automatic weapons at schools across the U.S.
"I was in high school when Columbine happened," says Roxie Fuller who attended the March for Our Lives in Los Angeles. "That tragedy horrified and shocked me, I remember feeling just beside myself at the knowledge that you could die at school!...nineteen years later each time there's a school shooting I'm just as devastated but less and less shocked."
Fuller who works as an actor and lives in Echo Park says she had a hard time finding her own voice as a teen. She says watching today's kids discover their own voice and strength through this difficult time set her heart on fire.
"I wanted to support them, witness them, encourage them, document the beginning of this movement," says Fuller.
Fuller headed to Downtown on Saturday with her camera and captured the embodied spirit of an unprecedented youth movement.
"I think the NRA is misguided and our founding fathers had no idea what future guns would be capable of when they wrote the 2nd amendment," she says.
Los Angeles Gets Loud
During Saturday's rally, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti led the crowd in a thunderous chant in front of LA City Hall.
"Whose streets?" he asked.
The crowd loudly responded: "Our Streets!".
Then he asked: "Whose Lives?"
And the crowd roared: "Our lives!"
"Whose nation?" asked Garcetti.
"Our nation!" replied thousands of marchers.
In his speech, Garcetti reminded the crowd about California's tightened gun laws, including the state's restriction on assault rifles, bump stocks and the required waiting period for gun purchases.
The Mayor then continued with a call for action from President Donald Trump:
"Get with the program Mr. President, or get the hell out of the way!"
Erika Villareal, a mom of two children, ages 10 and 14 traveled to Downtown from North Hills on Saturday. She said she was proud to march alongside her kids.
"They usually don't express their feelings on current events," she said. "But when it came to the shootings of innocent kids, they were very upset. They wanted to be here."