Students, teachers and activists came together in Santa Ana at Centennial Regional Park on March 24 to demand stricter gun control as a part of March for Our Lives.
Organized by the survivors of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the march held its main demonstration in Washington, D.C., with over 800 sister marches across and outside the U.S, according to the movement’s website.
Michael Davidson, a senior at Laguna Beach High School, said he’s been at multiple protests and marches because he finds political activism important.
“I think there’s too many people sitting on the couch saying ‘I hope something does change,’ but your vote and your voice counts,” Davidson said.
Mazayari and Tukiama Sanchez, middle school students from Santa Ana, came to the march with a sign that read “Girls clothing in schools is more regulated than guns in America,” criticizing their school district’s dress code.
Both said they participated in a Women’s March and enjoy being politically active.
“Seeing everyone together and us showing our voices in a peaceful way is incredible, I’m speechless,” Tukiama Sanchez said.
Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor of California and member of the CSU Board of Trustees, spoke at the rally before the march to show his support for students and advocacy for gun control advocacy.
“I wanted to come down here and make the case to the folks in Orange County. This place has been stubborn in the past in terms of the gun safety legislation,” Newsom said.
He emphasized the important role of politicians in preventing gun violence and commended the passing of California’s Proposition 63, which requires background checks for ammunition purchases.
“You have a voice, you are not bystanders in this world. We are not victims of gun violence if we can shape a different future,” Newsom said during his speech.
Porfirio Pineda, an Orange County resident, attended the march to see perspectives that differed from his own. He wore a Second Amendment sweatshirt to the event, but said he did not want to argue with participants.
“I support liberty for everybody. I don’t agree with what was happening with the school shootings, but then again that doesn’t give the right for someone to come and say everyone else should pay the consequences for one person’s idiotic motives,” Pineda said.
Voting was an important topic at the march, and demonstrators were encouraged to register to vote. Davidson said voting is what gives him a voice in the government.
“As someone who holds a full-time job while going to high school, I value where my taxpayer dollars go to. I don’t want that to go to people who lobby for large organizations such as the NRA and large gun manufacturers,” Davidson said.
Hannah Vogel, another student from Laguna Beach High School, said she finds the Second Amendment outdated because it was written for the past and not modern times.
“It’s 2018. I have a right to education that shouldn’t be infringed upon by guns,” Vogel said.
Harrison Faigen contributed to this report.