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Youths demand gun control

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HUNDREDS of thousands of youths, their parents, supporters and allies in 800 cities around the world made good their vow to press their demand for gun control on the streets.

 

They urged legislators to ban the assault weapons, end of sale of high-capacity magazines and require background checks on all gun purchases.

 

They criticized the president and lawmakers for bowing to the gun manufacturers and the gun lobby.

 

In San Francisco, Columbine HS shooting survivor Briar Goldberg pressed for tougher gun ownership checks.  

 

Thousands at the Civic Center found support from school safety advocate Daly City Mayor Juslyn Manalo and foremost NRA opponent Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who became mayor of San Francisco when Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk where shot dead by a fellow Supervisor in 1978.  

 

Near and far from the White House and the Capitol, the children's messages reverberated:

 

“Am I next?”

 

 “We are a nation of survivors.”

 

 “Let’s put the USA over the NRA.”

 

“They say I’m a tool of some nameless adult, but that’s not true.”

 

“Bullets do not discriminate, so why should we?”

 

“Arm our teachers with pens and pencils.  Arm our students with education. “

 

“We shouldn’t have to come here to talk to you; you come home and hear from us, your constituents.”

 

“Don’t be afraid just because they have Senator before their name.”

 

“Tell them to listen to you because they work for us.”

 

“We’ve been fighting since Columbine, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Las Vegas.  We will no longer be a statistic.”

 

“It is normal to see candles for brown and black lives lost to gun violence.”

 

“This is how democracy looks like.”

 

“We are all Americans.”

 

“La lucha sigue.” (Ed: The struggle continues.)

 

“We’re going to make this a voting issue, in every county, in every state.”

 

“Register to vote.”

 

“Vote them out.”

 

“Congress, you’re the parents.  Look at us, your children.  We’re the ones fighting to survive.”

 

“I have a dream that enough is enough.  That this should be a gun-free world.  Period.”

 

"This is just the beginning."

 

Highlighting the toll of a few moments in front of an AR15, Gonzalez spoke at the lead rally for 2 minutes then led 4 minutes of silence to reflect on the terror she and her schoolmates endured on Valentine's Day.

 

That was all the time the assailant took before ditching his weapon, walking away and blending with the frantic survivors, she said.  Over an hour would pass before he would be identified and apprehended.

 

By then 17 lives were lost, leaving a nation asking why, sparking the same debate over the Second Amendment, turning children into activists: fearless and focused, astute and determined.

 

 

(Cherie M. Querol Moreno is an award-wining journalist, community educator and volunteer)

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