A larger-than-anticipated crowd filled Lake Sumter Landing Market Square on Saturday for the March For Our Lives rally. It took place in conjunction with the March For Our Lives rally in Washington D.C.
Villages High School student Lily Morse began organizing the event shortly after 17 people were killed on Valentine’s Day at a high school in Parkland.
She and her fellow students were inspired by the activism demonstrated by the Parkland students who have pressured Florida politicians to make gun control a priority.
“We are going to make a change. There is no reason that students should be afraid to go to school,” Morse said.
The students were joined by many Villagers, parents and grandparents. Most of the marchers’ signs called for reasonable gun control and urged political leaders to take action.
The VHS students said they were thrilled with the turnout at Saturday’s rally.
Villager George Perkins’ sign called on President Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to be, “Real leaders and pass reasonable gun controls.” Perkins said he favors enhanced background checks and restrictions on the size of magazines. He also believes that it may be necessary to ban assault rifles such as the AR15.
Villager Annie Kehoe marched for her grandchildren.
“There is no reason for anyone to own an assault weapon. They are not necessary,” she said.
Dennis Cholewinski was at the event to support the students.
“They deserve all our blessings,” he said.
VHS junior Derek Nhieu delivered a powerful message from the Pavilion.
He asked how many had heard about mass killings involving a knife.
The crowd thundered back with a loud, “Never!”
Nhieu went on to describe the terror he and his classmates experienced recently when the charter school went on lockdown.
The classroom lights were off and he was on the floor wondering if he was going to be hit by a round coming through a wall.
The rally ended with the crowd chanting “Love.”