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Three LHS seniors travel to D.C. together to attend “March for Our Lives” rally

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During their Spring Break, three Libertyville seniors traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in the March For Our Lives event on Saturday, March 24. The demonstration, led by the student survivors of the recent Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, focused on protesting gun violence and encouraging the government to pass more restrictions on arms. 

According to CBS, more than 200,000 people attended the march in D.C., and approximately 800 marches were held worldwide. The majority of Libertyville student protestors who participated in a rally went to either downtown Chicago or somewhere in the suburbs, but a few — including Ainslie Lounsbury, Lexi Stavrakos and Hannah Daguinsin — traveled to the nation’s capital to dissent directly in front of federal government buildings. 

Lounsbury, who someday wants to be a music teacher,  is terrified at the prospect of a school shooting directed on her or her future students. 

“I’m tired of being afraid as I sit in my classes, wondering if my sister at Highland is safe, and where I should hide if a shooter were to walk through the door that instant,” she shared in a group text message.

Ainslie Johnson, one of the LHS students who traveled to D.C., wants to be a teacher someday, and hopes that continued activism will make it safer for her and her students against gun violence.

Ainslie Lounsbury, one of the LHS students who traveled to D.C., wants to be a teacher someday and hopes that continued activism will make it safer for her and her students against gun violence.

Stavrakos believed that such gatherings make “blaringly loud” statements to political leaders that change is approaching. 

“I think that these marches do make a profound difference,” she explained. “The congregation of hundreds of thousands of people united to support a single cause makes a statement.”

The rally featured student speakers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas as well as other students from around the country, and celebrities, such as Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus. Grande performed an emotional rendition of “Be Alright,” and Cyrus moved some audience members to tears with a version of her hit song “The Climb.”

One of the student speakers from Parkland, who was recently featured on the cover of Time magazine, Emma Gonzalez, had an unannounced six-minute moment of silence while she was at the podium, representative of the time it took for the shooter to kill 17 students at her school before exiting the building. 

“Since the time that I came out here, it has been 6 minutes and 20 seconds,” Gonzalez said, breaking her silence. “The shooter has ceased shooting, and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape, and walk free for an hour before arrest. Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.”

Many participants in the march were frustrated with the current government’s gun policies. Daguinsin wants universal background checks, bans on automatic weapons and stricter gun ownership regulations. 

“Stricter security and clear backpacks can only do so much,” she noted. “We need real change on a federal level.”

Though there were other LHS students who also made the trip to the capital to march, many Libertyville student protestors stayed closer to home and attended the downtown Chicago rally or a local rally in Vernon Hills, where congressman Brad Schneider spoke. One of these students, sophomore Maddie Kuntz, was struck by the magnitude of the event. 

“Something that stuck out to me was the solidarity everyone had with each other and how genuine and polite everyone was despite how crowded it was,” she shared.

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Three LHS seniors travel to D.C. together to attend “March for Our Lives” rally