Voices From The March For Our Lives
They came for their classmates, children, parents, and teachers. They rode in as bike teams, hopped on school buses, carpooled with their friends. They made signs with magic markers and glitter and paint. And they declared, some with tears running down their faces, that “enough is enough.”
Saturday, 10,000 marchers gathered at the Connecticut State Capitol for the Connecticut chapter of March For Our Lives, a national rally and demonstration against gun violence in the U.S. Organized by University of Bridgeport student Tyler Suarez, Connecticut Against Gun Violence, and Women's March CT - We March On, the event brought out students, teachers, parents and legislators from across the state.
At least 10,000 people turned out for the event, according to Hartford Police. Here are some of the voices from the march.
Adanne Ogoba, 17, Hamden High
Like all the students around the country, I’ve had enough. Gun control is a very real issue, and we’re tired of hearing about kids dying. Congress didn’t care when 20 kids were killed at Newtown. Now we feel like this is our time to make a change. Now we’re destroying the narrative that teenagers are uninterested, lazy and we’re really proving that we can make a difference. That’s why we’re here.
Justin Feldshon, 17, Hamden High
Usually in politics and in America, it’s only the adult voices who are heard. But it turns out they’re not really the ones at risk every day going to school. So, me and all the other kids of our America need to start using our voices to protect ourselves.
Zoi Burns, 16, North Haven High School
Today is just making a statement to anyone in power that we—our generation—we’ve had so many lives lost, and we’ve become so numb to innocent people getting killed by guns that we shouldn’t have. Not saying: Let’s ban every single gun in the world. But saying: We should have sensible gun laws to protect those that need to be protected.
We should feel safe in our schools, and right now, it could be any of us. Anyone could walk in and we could die. Any day. School is supposed to be a place for education, not to feel fear. What the Congress did—no one’s doing anything about it. So we are saying: We demand action. We need something done. We won’t be silent. This is our voice. We’re using it, and this is how we are using it.
Elizabeth Pasion, 15, Lyman Hall High School, Wallingford
Honestly, I just don’t want to be scared to go to school. I don’t want to be scared that out of the blue, my school is going to get shot up one day, and tons of my friends lives are gonna get lost. I just don’t want that to happen.
Tatyana Maldonado, 15, Platt High School, Meriden
Personally, I think it’s terrible that we’ve all normalized it. No one would be surprised if their school did have a shooting. I think it’s good that we stand up and protest against this, so that it doesn’t happen.
Jailine Carrero, 15, Francis T Maloney High School, Meriden
I think it’s just awful that so many kids have lost their lives. That they had such great futures ahead of them. I want to be a trauma surgeon, and I’m just thinking about all those other people that could become something to save other people’s lives. Instead, we’re taking those lives … of the innocent. And I just think that’s awful.
Elizabeth Brown, 23, who described herself as a proud product of Connecticut's elementary and high schools
I was a freshman in college when Sandy Hook happened. I just remember staring at my computer watching the live feed of the news. I was up in Maine at the time, and I was just stunned. That was just a year removed from me. And it was so terrifying, that that could have been me.
I remember my mom calling me, and being like: Oh my god, are you okay? Even though I was in a whole other state. It was crazy. And I think that the fact that this is still happening six years later is obscene. So that’s why I’m here.
Jo Schaller, Police Officer with the Connecticut State Attorney’s Office, Durham
I’m a gun owner and I’m a Second Amendment Person—I don’t have a problem with the Second Amendment. But there’s nothing about the Second Amendment that … it doesn’t mean that guns can’t be regulated. And guns should be regulated. There’s no reason why—these are instruments of war. People don’t need them in their homes. People are telling you that they need these rifles to protect their homes, they’re lying. They don’t need those guns.
I’m fine with the Second Amendment, but there should be reasonable gun control. There should be universal background checks. Dangerous people shouldn’t have weapons of war. People say: ‘Oh, more gun laws aren’t going to stop the problem.’ Well then, why do we have any laws?
Marisol Feliciano, Violence and Injury Prevention Specialist, St. Francis Hospital, Hartford
I’m here from a different perspective. We see gun violence victims in our emergency departments every day. It doesn’t matter that it’s the city of Hartford. I’m here, and everyone else is here, because now these teens have gathered us together.
This political thing aside, we are not saying no to guns. We’re saying: If you’re gonna own a gun, properly store it. Or if you have a gun in a home, it should not be in a home that somebody’s violent or where somebody is suffering from some mental illness. So the conversation has to happen, and people have to take the politics aside from this.
Lashonda Williams, Director of Young Educated Determined To Succeed (YEDS), East Hartford, at the march with her twin daughters and son
I’m a mom, and I’m very concerned about the issues—especially gun violence within our schools. I feel like there needs to be more to protect our children in our schools, and I feel as though there can be more. I don’t feel as though arming teachers with guns is the answer. I just think that brings about more violence.
I think the legislative offices need to come out with some resolutions on gun violence and changing these laws to protect our children, as well as our communities.
Anteia Henes, there with her partner Kendrick and sons Jojo and Kyrie
Kendrick is a teacher, and I think this really hits home for him—and the work that he’s doing, and the work that he doesn’t want to do, which is having to worry about protecting children’s lives. He’s more concerned about teaching and really moving them forward and preparing them for the future, and not having to save them from guns. I thought that it was important that all of us came out, just to show support and recognize that it’s an issue that we’ll probably have to unfortunately have to keep addressing.
Chris Murphy, U.S. Senator
Two weeks ago, my six-year-old came home from his public school. And he told me a story that millions of parents have heard all across this country. He went through his first active shooter drill. He goes to kindergarten and they’ve got a little bathroom attached to their classroom, and so he and the 25 other six-year-olds in his class were locked inside that bathroom, stuffed shoulder-to-shoulder, the door was locked behind them and they were told to be quiet.
He came home that night, and he told me that story, and as I’m listening to it I can’t stop the tears from running down my face as he says: ‘Daddy, I didn’t like it.’
No child should have to go to school wondering if they are going to survive the day. No child in New Haven or Hartford or Bridgeport should have to wonder whether they are going to survive the walk to the grocery store to pick up milk for their parents. No one in this country should have to wonder if they are safe in their classroom, on the streets, or in a movie theater. And we are going to change the laws of this country to make sure that that safety exists for every child.
Are you with me?
To listen to some of the voices from the March For Our Lives in Hartford, click on or download the audio above.