Tucson students are joining the “March for Our Lives” protest Saturday, in a local version of a nationwide protest sparked from the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.
Marchers are invited to meet at 11 a.m. at Jacome Plaza in front of the Joel D. Valdez Library downtown, at North Stone Avenue and West Pennington Street.
The march will commence at noon, and organizers expect it will take two hours to reach the University of Arizona Mall. The march route roughly will wind down East Toole Avenue, through North Fourth Avenue and onto University Boulevard to the UA campus.
From 2 to 4 p.m. speakers — mostly students, though there will be some gun control advocates like former U.S. Rep. Ron Barber and state Rep. Daniel Hernandez — will talk about possible solutions to gun violence in schools.
Sharmila Dey, a 16-year-old sophomore at University High School and one of the organizers of the Tucson march, said student organizers hope the march draws more people than the Tucson women’s march, which brought out roughly 15,000 protesters.
And while the march is about stopping gun violence in schools, Dey said the march isn’t backing any one bill or regulation as a solution to gun violence in schools. Many of the students and adults participating, however, have their own ideas of how to address the problem, including raising the age limit to buy guns, banning assault weapons and requiring universal background checks for gun sales.
“The main thing we’re trying to get out of this march is we really want to mobilize the student population. The voices of students all across the country, in a political sense, they really haven’t been valued or listened to,” Dey said.
“With this march, we hope to show we do have a voice, we do matter, and we care about these issues that are affecting us.”