Article by Grant Hillyer, Photos by Gab Burrows and Kai Medina
Thousands of students and angry citizens took to Boston Common on March 24th to express their dissent about the nation’s gun violence.
Parked on the hill feet away from the Massachusetts State House, students and teachers spoke at the youth-driven event about the devastating impacts of gun violence. Elected officials in attendance stood near the speakers but did not participate or give any speeches.
As marchers from the starting point in Roxbury arrived, the crowd clapped and roared. Many protesters held signs claiming, “Peanuts are more regulated than guns in school,” or took aim at the financial backing politicians receive from the NRA, saying “(G)uns (O)ver (P)eople.”
Although many took aim at the president with signs referring to accusations of collusion, the focus was on youth in schools. Many protesters carried signs asking, “Am I next?” or proclaiming “I shouldn’t be afraid to go to school.”
Chants were also a major part of the day and crowd favorites included, “Hey hey NRA, how many kids have you killed today?” and “Enough is enough.”
Speakers rallied against the NRA and its hold on politicians. There was a strong emphasis in the speeches on the belief that the collective will could overcome the NRA, and volunteers roamed the crowds seeking to get people registered to vote.
Police and and the Veterans For Peace organization surrounded a pro-gun contingent of 30 people at the rally as human protection. The counter-protesters held signs saying, “2nd amend. not negotiable” and confronted protesters and disrupted speeches via microphone.
There was also a small group of people wearing anti-fascist gear and carrying flags. Their presence and flags got the largest reaction from the pro-gun group as they prompted multiple jeers and accusations of being communists. Many of the pro-gun members rushed over to yell at the anti-fascists as soon as they could before seemingly getting tired after 15 minutes or so.
More and more people streamed into Boston Common despite the cold temperatures to listen to young students and teachers voice their frustrations and call for change. A few of the student speakers said that they hoped this momentum will translate to the polls.