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Newtown’s March For Our Lives Attracts Hundreds



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Supporters of gun violence awareness and prevention gathered in front of Newtown Middle School Saturday, June 11, for the March for Our Lives demonstration. The event was held just over two weeks after the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

March for Our Lives is a movement created by students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, after a shooting claimed the lives of 14 of their fellow students and three staff members in 2018. According to co-founder David Hogg, the demonstration is intended to be a mass mobilization “to demand that Congress pass federal gun safety legislation like universal background checks, raising the minimum age for select gun purchases, and limiting the sale of weapons of war.”

The march in Newtown was one of over 450 March for Our Lives demonstrations being held worldwide. It was arranged by 18-year-old Newtown resident Grace Eurell, in association with March for Our Lives, Sandy Hook Promise (SHP), and Newtown Action Alliance (NAA).

Eurell spoke first at the event, emphasizing the importance of gun violence awareness and prevention.

“The right to simply live your life is the most important thing,” she told those in attendance, “and we must not stop fighting until that’s exactly what we get.”

Following Eurell was Jessica Eisle, a survivor of the Sandy Hook School shooting whose brother was killed in a gun violence incident in 2020.

“The 26 lives of my teachers and classmates lost nearly ten years ago were preventable. The loss of my brother’s life was preventable,” said Eisle. She continued by saying that “we cannot simply focus on one aspect of this massive issue and expect it to change,” referencing the implementation of both more stringent gun legislation, as well as more comprehensive aid for mentally ill individuals.

Director of Connecticut Violence Intervention Leonard Jahad expanded on these ideas in his address.

“We all know that hurt people can hurt other people, and continue to hurt other people until that trauma is recognized,” he told the crowd. He outlined his work with victims and perpetrators of gun violence as a way to understand and engage with both sides of the issue.

Jahad also stressed the urgency of gun safety and legislation by sharing a few anecdotes about professionals mishandling guns in the armed forces and police.

“We have to be more responsible,” he said, “we have to love our children.”

Newtown High School Junior Ashley Hubner spoke next on behalf of children attending American public schools.

“I am sick of feeling afraid in my own place of learning,” she said, “I am sick of watching my fellow students being killed week by week in a place that is meant to produce the ability to achieve a dream, and I am sick of watching innocent Americans die every day due to the lack of empathy of not only gun manufacturers, but our very own government.”

Her attitudes were shared by Newtown Public School bus driver Duncan Brown and Hawley Elementary School teacher Carla Tiscio. Tiscio closed out the speaking portion of the event by reciting a poem by local poet Miriam Azeez.

Reflecting the title of the event, the crowd marched toward and down Main Street to gather on the public right-of-way in front of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to protest the organization’s opposition to stronger gun legislation. According to Open Secrets, the NSSF — which describes itself as the “firearm industry trade association” — spent $5 million on lobbying in 2021, outpacing the NRA.

Along the way, cars passing by the march honked their horns in support of the demonstration.

A few speakers from earlier led the crowd in chants before handing the megaphone over to Senator Richard Blumenthal, who shared some words of encouragement with the protesters.

“You have shown so much resilience and strength in the face of tragedy,” he told those who gathered for the final stage of the day’s event, “but you have also provided a lesson in activism and courage, inspiring a lot of young people from all over the country to march for their lives.”

Hundreds of attendees walk south along South Main Street after leaving Newtown Middle School on Saturday, June 11, as the local March for Our Lives demonstration headed toward its second rallying point in front of the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Mile Hill Road headquarters. The event was one of hundreds held just over two weeks after the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. —Bee Photos, Schumer
Leonard Jahad of Connecticut Violence Intervention appears resolute after addressing hundreds of supporters who gathered for the first segment of a March for Our Lives event at Newtown Middle School June 11.
Mary Kate, Peter, and Addie Sandler each created signs for the June 11 March for Our Lives rally.
Diane McCann, Vicki Mark Anthony, and Deborah Barlow arrived early showing off their own March for Our Lives hand-made placards.
Concetta Van Winclel and Heather Madhavan created signs including the names of each Uvalde, Texas student victims as they joined hundreds of others for the Newtown March for Our Lives rally on June 11.
US Senator Richard Blumenthal stands atop a grassy rise in front of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) headqauters where hundreds of March for Our Lives participants gathered to mark the end of their local June 11 event.
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