A large number of Latinx students and families mobilized together this past Saturday, March 24, as a part of the nationwide March for Our Lives demonstration demanding stricter gun control.
The main event of March for Our Lives took place in Washington, D.C. where 200,000 to 800,000 people protested against gun violence. More than 1 million people participated in the 800 sister marches across the U.S. and around the world.
Alexandra Rozenblat, a 15-year-old survivor of the Parkland school shooting, and her family were among the demonstrators.
“I do feel like we all have hope that what our classmates are doing will make a difference,” said Rozenblat to NBC News.
According to Vox, the march was one of the largest marches in U.S. history and one of the largest youth-led protests since the Vietnam War.
Students worked together to rent stages, create march routes with police, and schedule speakers. Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, and Lin-Manuel Miranda were just a few of the Latinx and Hispanic performers who appeared at the rally.
“Everybody decided, we know how this is going to end up,” said Emma Gonzalez, a Cuban-American student leader. “We know that the politicians are going to say ‘thoughts and prayers.’ They’re going to say those words and that’s all they’re going to do.”
“That’s not what we want to happen this time around,” Gonzalez said. “We want this to stop.”
The Latinx population in the U.S. is significantly younger than other American ethnicities. Approximately 40% of millennials are Latinx and a greater number of Latinx millennials support gun control measures compared to those of other ethnicities.
However, for Stella Rouse, the director of the Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland, the role the Latinx community will play in the future of gun control is questionable.
“[The] issue of gun control has not previously been an issue Latinos care strongly about,” Rouse said. Issues such as education, immigration, and healthcare remain top priorities for those in the Latinx community, Rouse says.
Yet, gun control has become an educational issue. Compared to the 51 million school hours that are lost to children every year due to dental-related illnesses, anxiety and depression have been shown to drastically impact children’s education on a daily basis.
And that’s without the fear of a mass shooting.
“I have a dream that one day I won’t be scared to go to school,” read the poster of Jordin Torres, a student demonstrator, at March for Our Lives.
For students like Rozenblat, experiencing a mass shooting has a significant impact on education. Students are always on edge, Rozenblat said, and feel uncomfortable.
The state of Florida has since rejected a proposal for gun regulations signed by Governor Rick Scott. Congress has yet to consider legislation.