Thousands turned out in Philadelphia, where one of the more than 800 March for Our Lives events was held over the weekend to demonstrate against gun violence and demand action from legislators to curb the ongoing scourge of mass shootings.
Inspired by the activism of students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Florida last month and organized a massive rally in Washington, D.C., activists marched from Independence Park to Lombard Circle.
“I am so inspired by all of the young people who have refused to accept gun violence as a new normal,” mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “We will keep fighting so that one day, we won’t have to march for our lives.”
Sen. Bob Casey also joined the march.
“My thanks to all those who marched across Pennsylvania, our nation and the world,” Casey said in a statement. “We cannot surrender to gun violence.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro spoke to the crowd with his high school-age son and daughter by his side.
“We can protect rights and save lives,” Shapiro said. “The time for action is now.”
The Philly March for Our Lives was organized by students in the area.
Organizer Ethan Block, 16, a student at Hopewell Valley Central High School in New Jersey, said the Parkland shooting was a turning point from feelings of powerlessness after past shootings to inspiring young people to get involved politically.
“I just couldn’t really believe what I was seeing, even from a young age, I knew what I was seeing was wrong, that the fact our representatives weren’t taking action was wrong,” Block told Metro. “The Parkland kids said, ‘This isn’t just another school shooting. We’re going to make our voices heard and advocate for change.’ That was really inspiring to me.”