Over 5,000 gather for Albany 'March for Our Lives' event

March 24, 2018 12:07 PM

More than 5,000 attend a 'March for Our Lives' event in Albany on Saturday. It is one of nearly 800 marches planned today, including the main event in D.C. where more than 500,000 students will gather. 

They're advocating for stricter gun laws and more mental health resources in the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting last month.

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“It's not just happening in Florida it's happening everywhere,” Shaker High School senior and event organizer Amsa Bawla said.

Bawla and Schalmont High School sophomore Hamza Noor are two of the students who helped organize event. They began collaborating with students from around Capital Region at the end of February.

"We were doing these walk outs and we were all collaborating on those and then we were like, 'why don't we do a March for our lives here in Albany?'" Bawla said.

The event takes place in West Capitol Park on Saturday. Bawla and Noor said they're expecting nearly a 1,000 people to attend, many of them high school students.

"We are part of this, this is like a whole generation, that's really moving and it's inspiring for us that we can make an impact and then we can make something happen no matter how old we are,” Noor said.

Several students will speak along with Assemblywoman Pat Fahy and Congressman Paul Tonko.

"They can actually make a difference in our government,” Bawla said. “So if they hear voices of the people and they hear the emotions and how we're feeling and what we want there's a more likely chance that it's actually going to happen."

Tonko is impressed with how politically active many young people have become.

"They have become that force has said, 'look we have suffered for too long from this,' and that it's time for America to act,” Tonko said.

They're calling for stricter gun laws and more mental health resources. While they know many people think teenagers can't make a difference, they don't agree.

"People who doubt us, I kind of just let it go, I'm kind of just like you know what I know what I'm doing is for a good cause,” Bawla said. “And if somebody wants to put me down, I'm not going to let it affect me because I want to keep going with what I'm doing."

From Parkland, to Albany, to high school classrooms, unexpected alliances are forming.

"It's really increased the amount of communication in our school,” Noor said. “I've seen this happen in my school personally. People from the drama club making posters with people from the football team. There's a lot of that happening, I've never seen that before."

The ‘March for Our Lives’ event will take place at West Capitol Park in Albany at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Bennington, Vermont's event will be held from 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. at Four Corners. 

The two high schools in Pittsfield, Massachusetts chartered a bus to D.C., and the local event kicks off at noon in Park Square. 

The 'March' begins at 2 PM at the traffic light on Main Street in Cambridge, NY. 


Emily Burkhard

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