Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets Saturday for March for Our Lives events across the U.S. — the biggest set to happen in Washington, D.C.
Busload after busload has filled the nation’s capital with students from across the country, including some from as far away as California and Minnesota.
The march was announced by students days after the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and since then, more than 800 sister marches have been planned.
Events are scheduled in every U.S. state and on every continent, all with the same mission: ending gun violence and taking up gun-control legislation. Organizers expect 500,000 to descend on the nation’s capital, including many from Parkland.
Mei-Ling Ho-Shing arrived in D.C. on Thursday. She was one of the many who were inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the attack, which left 17 dead. The junior said she plans to link arms with her classmates and march in hopes of changing laws so what happened at her school will never happen again.
“Douglas is in the house. We’re here and coming to make a change,” she said, adding “this isn’t a trending topic. This is people’s lives. We’re not going to stop after this. When we go home we’re still going to be fighting for this.”
The shooting instantly reignited the gun-control debate. But the students in Parkland — who spoke with a loud voice and amassed an enormous following in the hours and days after the shooting — seemed to disrupt the typical cycle after an attack and demanded an end to gun violence.
Within a month of the rampage, several companies cut ties with the National Rifle Association and stopped offering discounts, students from 3,000 schools held a nationwide walkout, and Florida’s governor signed a comprehensive bill that included tightening gun laws.
Jaclyn Corin, one of the core group of Parkland students leading the #NeverAgain movement and organizing the marches, said it’s been unbelievable to see the support around the nation and how thousands of students have rallied for the cause.
She said the outpouring is a “constant reminder that even though this shooting was a horrible tragedy, we’ll make these changes and see some light come out of the bad.”
Corin, 17, said preparations for the march have been stressful, but she and the others are excited. She said this march is just the beginning of what they hope to accomplish.
“We want to continue what we’re doing, especially leading up to November,” she said. “We want every young person to register to vote and head to the polls, no matter who they’re voting for or what party they’ve voting for.”