Yesterday I attended the Boston March for Our Lives, which started by Madison Park High School and ended at the Commons. I went by myself, kicking myself for not offering to chaperone the students from my school who had wanted to join the walkout. It was a snow day here in Boston the day of the national walkout. The students at our school wanted to reschedule but the administration encouraged in-classroom engagement instead. The administrators at the school we share a building with allowed students to go outside for the make-up walkout. But based on a few comments I’ve overheard, not all of the students were satisfied with that solution.
Alone, I waited for the train headed to Roxbury Crossing. When it arrived the car was jam-packed, a pleasant surprise. Exiting at our destination, throngs of people headed up the stairs and on the street. There were so many young people. Many high school students, some from outlying suburbs, some middle schoolers, and even some tiny humans joined the ranks.
The signs were very creative. Students compared dress code regulations to gun control regulations. They explained that teens beat Voldemort by disarming him. One or two didn’t quite make sense as only a sign hand-drawn by a six-year-old can. Whatever that kindergartener’s intention, I got the memo that Spongebob was not a fan of guns.
Plenty of adults were there, too. The Boston Teachers’ Union, the union for school nurses, Harvard Medical School students and a poignant group of alumni from the Parkland high school, decked out in Marjory Stoneman Douglas gear, much of it fresh and unwrinkled. One teacher’s sign asked for “working expo markers” instead of guns, a sentiment I empathize with.
Though I ran into three different people that I know, I got to spend much of the slow march towards downtown reading signs and reflecting. There were a lot of white faces and a lot of self-proclaimed moms. I wondered about the annual Mother’s Day march in Roxbury against gun violence. I wondered about the privilege held by the students in Parkland. And then at home tonight I watched this video from the New York Times.
One of the students says she got “choked up” joining in the rally and I couldn’t agree more. It was an emotional walk. But let’s not abdicate responsibility to these young leaders. Let’s march, vote, call our legislators, and continue to arm young people with knowledge and the chance to make connections.