Thousands of people poured into San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza Saturday afternoon for the March For Our Lives rally, one of many events across the U.S. calling lawmakers to combat what organizers say is an epidemic of gun violence.
Drawing on impetus from the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people and injured dozens more, the March for Our Lives rally was largely put together by young people and students nationwide demanding that lawmakers tighten gun control laws.
While hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington D.C., large crowds also gathered for the San Francisco event, which was supported by several organizations, including Glide Memorial Church, the San Francisco Youth Commission, the San Francisco Unified School District and the United Educators of San Francisco.
Mayor Mark Farrell said to the large crowd:
“Year after year we see Sandy Hook, we see Parkland and Washington does nothing. I’m here today to stand with you to say enough is enough. This is about the future of our country, the future of our children’s lives,”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein said:
“There is a bill in the judiciary committee to ban assault weapons with 30 cosponsors,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said. “It is the third bill that we have written … the problem is the gun industry,” she said, accusing the gun industry of backing lawmakers in exchange for their refusal to restrict gun laws.
“There is a school shooting almost every month. … Is this the America that we want our children to grow up in? Can we make a better America by getting military weapons of war off of the streets and out of schools?”
Feinstein people in the crowd to vote and make sure everyone they know is registered to vote.
Christopher Colwell, chief of emergency medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, said he was a physician at the scene of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado in 1999 and serving at the Denver Department of Emergency during the 2012 shooting inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado:
“I have seen and continued to see far too often the destruction and the devastation caused by gun violence here in this county. From my perspective, there is no greater public health crisis that we face in this country today.”
Board of Supervisors President London Breed said:
“We are here for one reason and one reason only. To make sure that the people in Washington, D.C., know that we are not going to be quiet.”
Breed added, sharing that she witnessed her friend being shot and killed:
“When I was twelve, sadly, that’s when I saw my first incident of gun violence. … Sadly, too often young people are in neighborhoods and schools impacted by violence because of guns, impacted by violence because lawmakers won’t make the hard decisions that are necessary to change things for the better.”
In addition to the San Francisco event, rallies were held across the Bay Area, including San Jose, Oakland, Walnut Creek, Santa Rosa, San Leandro, San Mateo and Burlingame.