We are at the 'March for Our Lives' in Seattle this morning where 50,000 students and their families are expected to rally. We will update this post as the march progresses.
Makena Thatcher, 14, and her sister Malia Thatcher, said they were at the rally because their own school went into lockdown for a possible shooting. They attend Kamiak High School in Mukilteo.
The girls have been close to fatal shootings as well — a high school student shot up a party in their hometown a year and a half ago, leaving three dead. Marysville Pilchuck High School, 20 minutes away, had a mass shooting in 2014, in which five students died, including the shooter.
Rainier Beach High School student Gregory Miles Pleasant was one of the speakers onstage. He’s a member of the group Youth 4 Peace. But he said his jump into the spotlight has been sudden and a bit surreal.
“Honestly a couple months ago I wasn’t into all of this,” Pleasant said. “I was on the ground, walking through the streets. This is my life, this isn’t something that I’m researching.”
Pleasant said the growth of this student-led movement makes him feel hopeful. He just wants people to recognize that many people have been dealing with gun violence for years, and they need solutions that go beyond the school building.
Politicians, too, attended. Sen. Maria Cantwell said she was there to “remember Tulalip, Marysville and SPU” – Seattle Pacific University. “We are here to march for them.”
Bob Ferguson, Washington state’s attorney general, said, “It is outrageous, unacceptable, that our politicians here at home will not listen.” He mentioned shootings at Garfield High School (1995), Moses Lake (1996), Marysville (2014) and Mukilteo (2016).
Washington state has had about one school shooting a year – but many more youth die from gun violence off school grounds. Nationwide, gun violence is the third leading cause of death among youth; the second is suicide, which includes death by gun.
Recent shootings in the Seattle area include a house party in Mukilteo was shot up in 2016, leaving three dead.
And Marysville Pilchuck High School in 2014, where five students died of gunshot wounds in the cafeteria, including the shooter.
Earlier that same year at Seattle Pacific University in 2014, one student was fatally shot by a 27-year-old gunman.