On Saturday, March 24, hundreds of thousands of March for Our Lives demonstrators marched toward Pennsylvania Avenue, the boulevard connecting the legislative branch of the federal government to the executive. With signs held high, and voices raised, the protesters gathered into a sea of cheers, chants, and a collective demand for gun reform.
The crowd pushed toward the massive stage at Penn and 4th to hear speeches and remarks from the Parkland survivors and an enormous lineup of young Americans who’ve been affected by gun violence. From Zion Kelly, a D.C. local, whose brother was shot and killed in an armed robbery, to Matthew Soto, a survivor of the Sandy Hook massacre, each speaker urged Congress to act, or get voted out. Musical performances from Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Common, and Andra Day also graced the stage.
Curiously, the chanting, shouting, and cheering came to an abrupt halt when Emma Gonzales, another Parkland survivor, named the students lost during the shooting, and stood still at the podium for six minutes of silence; “Since the time that I came out here, it has been 6 minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting, and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape, and walk free for an hour before arrest. Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.”
As the rally dispersed, the crowd moved toward the museums, the Metro, and the District’s streets beyond Federal Triangle. 7th street was lined with vendors selling t-shirts, posters, prints, hats, buttons, and other memorabilia from the day’s March, shouting, “History was made today, take home proof you were here!” Just outside Gallery Place, a band of buskers put on a show for the crowd streaming past.
In the wake of tragedy, and after a march full of frustrated cries, Saturday’s crowd left Chinatown dancing to the buskers’ go-go beat.
Photos by Jonny Grave
Photos by Nicholas Karlin
Photos By Clarissa Villondo
Photos by Gevar Bonham
Photos by Mark Hoelscher