"March for Our Lives" events are planned across the country for March 24. Photo credit: March for Our Lives
Update (March 21, 2018): March for Our Lives Seattle has released the route and program for Saturday's event.
The march will start at 11 a.m. at Cal Anderson Park but head there early for an introduction from the founders, speakers and additional announcements. There will also be a sign-making party on-site at 8 a.m.
The march will conclude at 2 p.m. at the International Fountain at Seattle Center with youth performances scheduled for noon, a special guest and speakers at 12:25 p.m. and a musical guest at 1 p.m.
Original story (February 22, 2018): The Parkland, Fla., school shooting on Valentine’s Day that claimed 17 lives was more than 3,200 miles away, but to Seattle teens, the death toll caused by gun violence is not a faraway problem.
A group of student organizers from Seattle and Tacoma are joining the national push for gun reform and planning a local “March for Our Lives” event, one of many sister marches modeled after the main event planned in Washington, D.C.
Earlier this week, Emilia Allard, a senior at Ballard High School, noticed “March for Our Lives” rallies calling for gun control being scheduled in cities nationwide, but none had been started locally.
“I just knew Seattle needed to be a part of that,” she says.
She went to work creating a Facebook page and Instagram dedicated to a local march. Within minutes, the event garnered attention and widespread support. Two days later, more than 3,000 Facebook users had indicated they planned to attend.
The Seattle "March for Our Lives" event in support of “common sense solutions to gun control” is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, March 24, the same day related marches will take place in the nation’s capital and other cities. Local organizers tentatively plan to start with a rally in Cal Anderson Park with a march to Key Arena. They expect to announce a lineup of speakers and the finalized route for the march in the weeks to come.
I don’t think most adults have experienced what it’s like to practice so many school shooting drills.
Allard says her network of student organizers has grown to 10, and offers from volunteers wanting to help with the march continue to pour in. Many adults want to pitch in, too, she says. While the students welcome all ages to attend the march, they aim to keep it student-led.
The Seattle organizers and other students have seized on this moment because their lives have been so affected by school shootings, Allard says. They have grown up with an awareness of school shootings that no previous generation has shared.
“There’s been Columbine and other shootings, but I don’t think most adults have experienced what it’s like to practice so many school shooting drills,” Allard says.
As Allard and her friends have grown up, school shootings have not been a vague or distant threat. Their schools have prepared them for active-shooter scenarios. The chances of a shooting happening at her own school feel great enough that when Allard encounters an empty hallway or an unattended backpack — circumstances that could be incidental and benign — she wonders if it’s a sign of danger.
“We want to start talking about ways to change things,” she says. “It’s definitely going to be a longer term conversation.”
The organizers hope next month’s march sparks many more discussions of gun reform and solutions for each person involved.