Anchorage students join ‘March For Our Lives’ against gun violence
Anchorage residents took to downtown streets Saturday as part of a nationwide march against gun violence, in the wake of February’s mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. which left 17 people dead.
Hundreds of Alaskans joined the “March For Our Lives” which started at noon Saturday on the Delaney Park Strip. Organizers of the national event, including survivors of the Feb. 14. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, have called on politicians to support stricter state and national U.S. gun laws.
Several student speakers at Saturday's event, including Service High School student body president Dieuleveut Biringanine, delivered impassioned pleas to end the scourge of school shootings and other gun violence before a young and enthusiastic crowd.
"We the people of the United States, we are tired of seeing our people gunned down by our fellow classmates, we are tired of seeing which school will be next; we are tired," Biringanine said. "We cannot watch our future be wiped out by bullets."
Their march had one message.
“Enough is enough,” said Dimond High senior James Schultz. "It could be us next, especially in Alaska when there is so many guns."
For many of the students at the march, this will be their first year voting after they turn 18.
"They’re not just like kids,” said Biringanine. “We aren't only about social media. We can make a change and we can make noise."
But to students this march isn't political -- it's personal.
“We need to open up the conversation to talk about solutions," Biringanine said. "This is not about partisan views, this is not about Republican, moderate, conservative or left, this is about lives -- and when we lose sight of that, where is our nation going to be in a few years?”
Those calls have resonated with students on the Last Frontier, who walked out of two Anchorage high schools a week after the Parkland shooting. They were soon followed by students in Juneau and some in the Mat-Su Borough, who conducted a walkout at Palmer High School focused on showing kindness to classmates.
Other Alaska marches were held Saturday in Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau and Ketchikan, according to organizers.
The Associated Press reported that hundreds of thousands of people had joined Saturday marches across the U.S., with demonstrations held across the world in support of the event as well.
Cassie Schirm contributed information to this story.
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