Gregory Pleasant, 17, center, and Elijah Lewis, 18, right, raise their fists in the air before the start of March For Our Lives Seattle on Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Seattle. 'This is just the start. There have been people dying for years.' 
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Gregory Pleasant, 17, center, and Elijah Lewis, 18, right, raise their fists in the air before the start of March For Our Lives Seattle on Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Seattle. 'This is just the start. There have been people dying for years.'
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The kids are SHOUTING: 'This is just the start'

It was a great awakening – thousands of people, many of them teens and preteens, marched through Seattle on Saturday morning. They joined tens of thousands more across the country calling for laws that would curb gun violence.

“We are the future,” said Gregory Pleasant, a student at Rainier Beach High School. “We are the ones that can vote now.”

See photos of teens marching in the slideshow above

That seemed to be the overarching message at Seattle’s march on Saturday – watch out world, guns are OUR issue. But there was also an undercurrent of anxiety among young people worried for their own safety.

“I’m here because if things don’t change soon, me and my brother could be next,” said Cole Whitehouse, 12. “I always think about this late at night – will things change? Because I haven’t seen anything change in the last few years, and things have been getting worse and worse and worse.”

Said his brother Gabriel, age 10: “This could happen anywhere at any time. I don’t want that to happen, I don’t want any more people to be dead.”

The rallies across the United States were a response to a high school shooting on Valentine’s Day in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students dead. Survivors of the shooting started speaking out against gun violence – not just school shootings, but gun violence that kills young people every day. Gun violence is the third highest cause of death among children.

At the rally, Gov. Jay Inslee said he was encouraged: “This is one of the most inspirational things I’ve seen in decades of public life,” he said. “This generation rising up on its two feet and saying, ‘We won’t take it anymore. The older folks have to protect us.’ And I know this generation is going to do some great things in the decades to come.”