HARTFORD — Thousands of men and women were led by children and teens in Connecticut’s ‘March For Our Lives’ Saturday.
“Enough is enough,” said Tyler Suarez. “We need to do something about the issue of gun violence and the epidemic of mass shootings in our country.”
Attendees gathered on the steps of the State Capitol for hours as presenters gave speeches, sang songs, chanted and called for an end to gun violence.
“My aunt was the principal of Sandy Hook elementary school and in 2012 just an 8th grader my whole life changed,” Suarez said.
Suarez, who was the lead organizer of Saturday’s event, said he no longer feels the hopelessness that followed the shooting deaths of 26 children and educators in Newtown that tragic day including, his aunt Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung.
“After the Parkland shooting happened it kind of just clicked, you can, you can do something about this,” Suarez said.
“They started to demand that we actually do something,” said Suarez’s cousin and Hochsprung’s daughter, Erica Lafferty Smegielski.
The March For Our Lives in Hartford and about 800 similar events around the world Saturday were inspired by the Parkland shooting survivors.
“Even if something doesn`t happen now at least we’re putting our minds and our thoughts out there so people can actually get it,” said Mahogany Rich.
“Guns are not good for anybody,” said Christopher Humphrey. “They harm people.”
Many children and teens attended Saturday’s event because they don`t want to be the next shooting victims.
“I don`t want to not make it to graduation,” said T Moran. “I’m so close.”
“It`s our lives that are on the line and its us who are standing in this bus and at school and at the lunch table talking about will we be next,” said Skylar Haines.
For some teens, that is a question they ask every day.
“We`ve all experienced violence in our community one way or another,” another teen said.
“There can be no change if we don`t look inside our inner city and see the pain and grief that families are suffering every day,” said Reverend Henry Brown.
Everyone at Saturday’s event called on lawmakers to enact gun reform.
“Universal background checks is supported by 97 percent of Americans,” said Senator Chris Murphy. “Yet the NRA still opposes it. 97 percent of Americans shouldn`t have to work this hard to get their way.”
“Demand that comprehensive and effective bills will be immediately brought and passed into Congress that address these issues,” Suarez said.