By Laura Haight
There was no concealing the message more than 2,000 protestors carried through the streets of Greenville on Saturday: Thoughts and prayers aren’t cutting it; the time has come for action on gun control.
Armed with signs and led by a passionate team of students, the throng marched slowly chanting, “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, the NRA has got to go”, and “Tell me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like.” At the rally start, Avi Goldstein-Mittag, 20, one of the student leaders, rallied the crowd assembled at NOMA Square.
“This is a piece of history that will ignite a movement,” he told The Greenville News.
Greenville marchers joined with demonstrators in 800 other cities across the US and the globe, including 800,000 who marched in Washington, D.C., to demand sensible gun controls including banning “weapons of war” like the AR-15 and AK-47, large capacity magazines, instituting universal background checks, and closing loopholes for gun shows and time limits for permit approval.
At City Hall, the marchers gathered around a stage where they were challenged to action by a variety of speakers including elected officials like Councilwoman Lillian Brock-Flemming, student activists, and candidates like Mary Geren, who is running in the 3rd Congressional District, and Lee Turner, running in the 4th Congressional District.
Heard from the podium:
“Thoughts and prayers are hallow gestures and they mean nothing without action.”
“I am not a puppet of the left. No one is putting words in my mouth. My words do not need adults to write them.”
“We will register to vote and we will vote. Welcome to the revolution.”
“Make today the day we take our next step to a reformed and rebuilt America.”
“Welcome to the movement.”
An emotional rendition of “Shine”, an anthem written by Stoneman Douglas students, concluded the rally with this message:
You’re not gonna knock us down
We’ll get back up again
You may have hurt us but I promise we
are stronger and
We’re not gonna let you win
We’re putting up a fight
You may have brought the dark
But together we will shine a light
Photos courtesy of Roxanne Cordonier, Nadia Land-Greene, Laura Haight