March For Our Lives Review

Ben Lyons, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, March 15th, schools and colleges across the US, including some students at Bingham, participated in various walkouts in support of the “March For Our Lives” movement.

“March For our Lives” is a movement that was started in response to the growing number of mass shootings in America, specifically the ones that have targeted schools. The movement is headed by a group of students from Stoneman Douglas High School, which on February 14th fell victim to a shooting that claimed seventeen lives. The movement advocates for stricter gun legislation to prevent losing more lives to gun violence.

Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Stoneman Douglas High, has become the face of the movement through rigorous involvement. She has appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, participated in multiple debates, and spoken at rallies around the country for the advancement of her cause.  “Every single person up here today should be at home grieving, but instead they are up here, standing together, because if all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it is time for victims to be the change that we need to see” Gonzalez said at a “March For Our Lives” rally held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, recorded by CNN. In the same speech, she coined the phrase that would later become a slogan for the movement. “I call BS!” she yelled at her audience after cataloging a list of excuses the American legislation has used for resisting gun control. That same phrase would later be used by the leaders of Bingham’s walkout in their speech addressing participating students.

Max Roberts and Abi Lingam took the initiative to lead Bingham students on March 15th, the day of the national walkout, in which students left their classes at 10 am for seventeen minutes; a minute for each victim of the Stoneman Douglas shooting. The speeches they gave echoed that of Gonzalez, and in an interview with Lingam, she disclosed her as a source of inspiration.

The walkout took place on 104th south, right across from Bingham, where Roberts and Lingam used a maintenance box for their podium in the midst of a light drizzle. In front of an approximate turnout of 50 people, along with a small group of counter-protestors, Roberts called for everyone’s attention, and his speech began. “1999: 13 killed in Columbine” Roberts spoke, “2007: five killed in Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, 2007: 32 killed at Virginia Tech”. He continued to list dates and death tolls of six more mass shootings that have occurred in the last two decades, before giving attention over to Lingam, who then listed off all the names of those killed in the Stoneman shooting.

Roberts then spoke about the mission statement of their movement, stating that “we are here because we believe that the constitution is a living document that has the primary purpose of protecting its citizens…That is why we believe that no average citizen should have access to automatic weapons that can shoot hundreds of rounds per minute.” He later advocated for specific policy implementation to stop gun violence, such as higher age limits for gun purchases, mandatory background checks, mandatory gun safety training, and safer gun carrying.

Lingam’s opening words addressed the crowd directly as students and their role in the cause. “Students,” she said, “this is our demographic that is being attacked. Our lives that are becoming statistics. This is not the time to stand idly by in apathy”. She then took the opportunity to call out specific government figures, saying “my question to you Mr. Lee, Mr. Hatch, Ms. Love. Mr. Ryan and Mr. Trump—are you worth more than seventeen young lives”?

In an interview afterward, Lingam talked about her motivations for heading the protest. “The reason I wanted to help lead the protest was to give it a purpose because I didn’t want it to be a pointless walkout,” she said. She even cited this walkout as one of the most impactful actions of her life.