Protesters gather in Long Beach for March for Our Lives

Story and Photos by Alberto Nunez

In response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, about 1,000 demonstrators came together Saturday, March 24 at Bixby Park between Cherry Ave. and Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach, in support to end gun violence. 

An estimate of 1,000 protesters showed up at Bixby Park in Long Beach at 10 a.m. for the March for Our Lives in a support to end gun violence, on Saturday, March 24.  

Cady Stringer, 18, a senior at Wilson High School said, “This protest is important to us and it is time for change right now. Students cannot spend another day at school feeling unsafe. I am about to go to college, my friend is spending three more years in high school, my mom is a high school teacher, and my dad works at a university, so school shootings will affect me for the rest of my life. This will not end when she graduates and it is the same for other people. She said they have loved ones in schools and whether or not a person is in school. I believe assault rifles are weapons of war and not for the general public. I cannot buy a beer, but I can buy a gun.”  

Stringer added, “Background checks is the first step and the government needs to ban these weapons for the general public. The legislator needs to take action. Mental illness is a conversation that needs to be had regardless of guns or not. School shootings cannot be just addressed by mental health and needs to be addressed in multiple angles. She said we need address safety and security at schools. I wants citizens to be at least 21 to purchase a firearm with intense background checks. A person at the age 21, their mind is still developing.”

Demonstrators whistle and energize the crowd for The March for Our Lives that took in Bixby Park, between  Cherry Avenue and Ocean Boulevard, on Saturday.

Emma Stringer, 15, a freshman at Wilson High School said, “It is amazing how many kids came out here today and more of my friends are on the way. It is really fun and exciting to come and try to make a change. I am really proud of my fellow students and teachers who came out today. It is important that we start screaming and yelling to make a change. It’s scary students heard stories of teachers taking bullets to save their students and it is terrifying.”

Stringer said, “The shooting at Parkland had shook us at our core and it affects us to want change and make things better. I wants to go to school and wants to learn. I do not want to do lock down drills and I do not want to fear someone coming into the classroom, and putting me in danger. It should not be easy to get a a semi automatic or fully automatic rifle. I understands some people want to protect the 2nd amendment and respects that, but their have been many casualties from firearms.”

Protesters gathered on Saturday, March 24 to take part of March For Our Lives at Bixby Park in Long Beach. A group of young women hold up their signs during the march. 

Veronica Gonzales, 24, a human development major, attends Cal State of Long Beach said, “I have nieces and nephews, and I want them to be safe at school.”

Gonzales also said she is a student and still has a lot of schooling to go through. “I feel like I should not have to put my life at risk to better my future. It should be a lot harder to get a gun and there needs to be more precautions to get a firearm. I do not think guns are the right way to protect yourself and your voice is a lot stronger. I wants a full on ban on firearms. At the age of 21 should be the minimum to purchase a firearm and a person needs to train if they want their gun. A person needs more than 6 weeks of training with a firearm and background checks as well.”

Between streets Cherry Avenue and Ocean Boulevard, an estimate of 1,000 people gathered at Bixby Park Saturday morning to March For Our Lives, in Long Beach. 

Vanessa Gonzales, 24, a communications major,  attends Cal State Long Beach said, “I think that when it comes to gun control, I think it is important to have more regulation. Some politicians are supported by the National Rifle Association and politicians do not have the American people’s interest in their heart and they only care about the money. The fact that a 18 year old can purchase a firearm at a Walmart or any sporting goods store, it should not be that easy to get a firearm. The 2nd amendment has not been ratified and the firearms in 18th century were a lot different than ones today. Their needs to be some reform because our weapons have changed.”

Gonzales added, “In a perfect society, having no weapons is ideal, but it will take a lot of time for gun policies to change. For right now, we need more regulation, in order to get to a point where we have no weapons at all. The next step needs to be firmer regulations on guns, raising the age limit, and there has to be some sort of training. A person needs to have a reason to get a gun and not any person should be able to get a gun. The core of the issue is not mental illness, but the ability to get a gun readily.”