On Sat., March 24, students from all around West Michigan will be gathering at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids for the nationwide March for Our Lives.
The idea of the march started when the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida announced that they would be marching on Washington in response to the deadly shooting that took place at their school on Feb. 14. After the announcement, students from around the country started to organize marches in their own towns.
Forest Hills Northern High School student, Emily Masternak, is one of the organizers of March for Our Lives GR and is very passionate about this event.
“We can’t allow the school shooting epidemic go on any longer,” Masternak said. “It’s time to speak up and take action against it. With this march, we hope to inspire and educate people on the topic of gun violence.”
Over 1,000 people are expected to come together to march through Grand Rapids.
Before the marchers take to the streets, a rally will be held where 11 speakers consisting of students, teachers, gun violence survivors and other activists will address the crowd. They will be discussing the importance of being safe in school and ending gun violence.
Grand Rapids Community College Trustee, Kathleen Bruinsma, will be one of the speakers at the rally, however, she will not be representing the position of the college.
“I have been working to encourage gun safety for years,” Bruinsma said. “I have two kids at East Grand Rapids and I’m very excited for the march.”
During the rally, the organizers will be collecting letters to send to federal and state legislators from marchers. Marchers can either bring a letter to give to the organizers or stop by the letter writing table to write their letter during the rally.
The rally is set to start at noon and will conclude at 3 p.m. The march route has been posted on the march event page. Marchers will start and end their march at Rosa Parks Circle.
If any other students are interested in organizing their own rally or event, Masternak said the process of obtaining a permit to host an event is easy.
“We literally googled how to get a special events permit in GR and filled out an application,” she said.
The Collegiate will be covering the entire march and will be posting on Facebook Live for those who are not able to attend the march.