'Do Better for Your People': Photos of Kids Marching for Their Lives
"It’s not fair that everyone has to go to school everyday worrying about getting shot."
All images by Brandon John
One month and ten days have passed since 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and killed 17 people—14 students and three staff members—using a legally-purchased AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle.
According to nonprofit Everytown, there have been over 300 school shootings since 2013. But immediately following the Parkland shooting, student survivors of the attack took to social media to say that they refuse to accept this new reality, demanding that lawmakers keep their "thoughts and prayers" to themselves if they didn't plan to use their legislative power to take real action. Now, they said, is exactly the right time to politicize a tragedy.
Since then, the Stoneman Douglas students have spoken at rallies, led nationwide school walkouts, and confronted policymakers directly. Today, they led the country's largest gun control advocacy march in history: March for Our Lives. The main march took place in Washington DC, with sister marches across the country. Broadly spoke to marchers in DC about what messages they want to send to legislators today and why gun control is more important to them now than ever.
BROADLY: If you had one thing to say to legislators, it would be…?
SHEENA, 15: Teachers don’t need to be armed with weapons, our mental health system needs to be fixed.
BROADLY: If you could say one thing to legislators, it would be...?
SIERRA, 11: It’s not fair that everyone has to go to school everyday worrying about getting shot.
MELISSA: I’m a teacher, an elementary school teacher, and I don’t know a single teacher of all the teachers I know around the country who want to be armed. It’s a tough job and that is not the time to have a loaded weapon around a lot of kids and teachers... [it's] just a recipe for disaster.
BROADLY: Why is it important to show up today?
MELISSA: First and foremost the children are motivated, and they are sending a message that it’s not okay to have that level of fear in their lives everyday and we have to come together. This is so inspiring because this is what is going to promote change through the ballot box.
BROADLY: If you could tell legislators one thing what would it be?
CALEB, 14: Do better for your people.
BROADLY: Why do you think it’s important to show up today and stand up for gun control?
ALEX, 15: I believe it’s important because if we’re all together and we stand up for one common purpose, it could get a lot done. Our voices could be heard, and maybe change will happen.
BROADLY: What does gun control mean to you personally?
DANIELLA(second from left): I'm a teacher at a high school. It’s been a very interesting journey for me in the past year, from sitting behind a desk as a student in May to, a few months later, I’m in front of a bunch of desks, in front of a bunch of students. For me it’s really the most important thing because being in the position and then seeing the position, you don’t want those kids to fear for their lives everyday.
BROADLY: If you could tell legislators one thing today, what would it be?
DANIELLA: To do the right thing. Do the right thing.