Manistee March For Our Lives draws large crowd

MANISTEE — More than 225 people joined many others around the country in the City of Manistee on Saturday afternoon in support of the “March for Our Lives” campaign.

Several generations of Manistee families showed their support by walking in the March for Lives in Manistee on Saturday afternoon. The nationwide effort drew hundreds of thousands of people to show their support for safety in schools and stricter gun control legislation.

Several generations of Manistee families showed their support by walking in the March for Lives in Manistee on Saturday afternoon. The nationwide effort drew hundreds of thousands of people to show their support for safety in schools and stricter gun control legislation.

The march originated with the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where the deadly shooting last month took the lives of 14 students and three adults. More than 830 similar marches were held around the country by people advocating the end to school violence, stricter gun laws, waiting periods to purchase guns and a ban on military assault rifles.

Washington D.C. was the largest rally where an estimated crowd of more than 300,000 filled the nation’s capital to show their displeasure over the current situation as did marches in New York City and other venues. More than 20,000 people filled a park in Parkland, Fla., for a rally to speak out for gun control and marches included individuals like Martin Luther King’s 9 year old granddaughter Yolanda Renee King and musician Paul MacCartney and his wife who walked in New York City.

In Michigan thousands took the streets in Detroit and marches were also held in Traverse City, Holland and other locations.

Manistee’s march was organized by the Manistee County Democratic Party.

The local marchers walked over both bridges in town and a portion of River Street downtown carrying signs to express their opinion on gun control and  the need to protect school children from gun violence. The local walkers ranged from the very young to senior citizens and included three generations of some families showing their support for the end to school violence and the need for stricter gun laws.

Besides those who marched, the message was endorsed by a constant sound of horns and people showing thumbs up signs of support or waving.

Manistee County Democratic Party chair Gary Madden said he was extremely pleased with the local turnout.

“I am glad to see so many people turn out today on this sunny, but rather brisk day,” said Madden.

Madden said they were marching on the sidewalk facing traffic because the wanted people to see the message being conveyed on the marchers’ signs.

He also talked about why they organized the local march.

“You know that we are part of over 830 marches like this that are going on all over the country and this is a big thing,” he said. “I especially want to thank any young people who are coming out here today. It is the young people who caused all this to happen in reaction to that mass shooting in Florida, and far as I am concerned it is about time.”

Madden said now is the time for action.

“People need to get moving and get activated and deal with this growing crisis we have in our country, so at least our children can feel safe and comfortable when they go to school,” said Madden.

The issue is something Madden said resonates very close to home with him and his wife.

“My wife and I are both retired educators,” said Madden. “When I retired I was running a Detroit Public School, and I have personal knowledge of what that feels like to have responsibility over 900 children. It’s a personal issue for me, but the situation we have in this country today is unacceptable. We as citizens need to do and say something about it.”

Student David Hogg, who is a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Florida and who has emerged as one of the leaders of protests, told the Associated Press that nationwide marches like the one held Saturday are making a difference.

“If you listen real close you can hear the people in power shaking,” said Hogg. “We will get rid of these public servants who only care about the gun lobby.”

Many of the signs carried in the local march were in opposition to the National Rife Association and the call for stricter gun legislation. Signs with messages like “Veteran for gun reform,” “Solve this vote against NRA,” “Gun Reform no NRA money” were in abundance among the local marchers.

Other signs focused in on the need to protect children in schools and carried the messages of “Books Not Bullets,” “Dead kids can’t hear your thoughts and prayers,” “Never Again” and “Enough” lined the streets.

 

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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