Reflection: I marched for our lives in D.C.


James Whitmore

GHS students Maria Kotob and Sarah Whitmore hold homemade signs at the March for Our Lives in Washington D.C.


On March 24th, I took part in the revolutionary beginning of progress and reform for our country’s government and morals. As a senior in high school looking towards a career in Political Science, I naturally jumped on the opportunity to participate in the March for Our Lives rally in the nation’s capital. Not only did this event align with my moral values, but my vision for our country moving forward. I wanted to be a part of this progress, even if it was in a small way.

I hopped on the plane with two of my aunts and my friend Maria at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, took the train into DC, met up with my dad, and piled onto the subway to the Capitol Building. Emerging from the subway, the spirit of democracy filled the air around us. Everywhere we looked there was a sign being held, a chant being yelled, and empowering music being played. It was crowded, the environment calm yet filled with passion.

Arriving two hours early, we decided to get coffee to fuel up for the day ahead. When we returned, the crowd had doubled. Washington D.C. had come alive. What was once a march had become a rally, as the expected number of participants rose, making a permit to march unattainable.

Throughout the day, it was hard to comprehend that these amazing human beings who spoke to a crowd of nearly one-million people were my age. No less than a month earlier, they were going about their lives like any other American student.

Even more incomprehensible, was the reason we were all there. Students and staff, just like those that surround me everyday, were stripped of the opportunity that life encompasses. It was scary and depressing to think about, but today the reality of it all flooded before me as the students spoke of their experience and loss right in front of my eyes. It all became so real.

In the age of digital media, we are constantly bombarded with new information. For me this is exceedingly true, and Valentine’s Day was no different. On February 14th, I got an alert on my phone, after having just returned home from school, that a high school shooting had taken place in Parkland, Florida.

At the time, I breathed deeply and let it sift through my mind. As a twenty-first century student this has become an oppressive norm in the media. Yet, little did I know, at the time, that the shooting was actually a massacre in which seventeen people would lose their lives or how far it would carry.

Eloquently, the students of Marjory Douglas High School rose from the heartache to demand and ignite change like never before. I began seeing them on the news, on my Youtube feeds, and at Gloucester High School, as we took on the nationwide school walkout in their support. Tears welled in my eyes as Caleb Perry and Caroline Enos read off the names of the students lost at the hands of a malicious device. This should not be our reality.

Last Saturday, in the reality of it all, I felt the strength of the movement around me, and more than ever I knew, against all odds, the time for change was now and that we are the change.