WPU Students March for Their Lives


Jacob Martinez, Production Manager

William Paterson University bused more than 200 staff and students to Washington, DC on Mar. 24 to participate in the “March For Our Lives,” one of the largest youth protests in American history.

After Maureen Martin, Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers Local 1796 of WPU, sent a campus-wide email offering a free bus ride to the march, hundreds of people requested seat reservations. Only one bus was initially slated to transport a small group of professors and students, but the AFT received so many responses to the email, four more buses were rented for the event. As the sun leisurely stretched across the sky, the crowd gathered at University Commons buzzed with the excitement of being a part of modern-day history.

“March for our lives is a representation of what my generation is capable of,” said WPU student Wyatt Mayes. “I have had arguments with my peers that they can change anything they want, they just have to want it [change].”

A congregation of more than 800,000 people filled the streets of Washington, D.C. in support of the 17 people who passed after a lone gunman opened fire in a high school in Parkland, Florida. The number of attendees at the march surpassed the number of people who attended President Donald Trump’s inauguration by 200,000. The rally also received significant celebrity endorsements with individual donations of $500,000 from George Clooney, Oprah, Steven Spielberg and others. While Washington was designated the central location of the march, the March For our Lives became a global phenomenon. Demonstrations were held in multiple countries such as Canada, Israel and Africa, all denouncing current gun laws and regulations.

While many Americans feel that current gun laws are in need of revision, others believe that there is an ongoing attack on the second amendment. The majority of gun owners claim owning a gun “is essential to their freedom,” according to a report by the Pew Research Center. The research also highlights how 67 percent of gun owners state protection as the main reason for owning a gun. John Bolduck, a second amendment supporter who attended the event, feels people are misinterpreting gun policies.

“The problem is not our current legislation. The problem is that our current legislation isn’t being followed the way it is supposed to be,” said Bolduck.

Yet, while non-gun owners and owners agree on revising specific laws such as stricter regulations against the mentally-ill, owners would instead expand on particular policies rather than limit them.

Organizers of March For Our Lives promise to make the most of the attention given to the issue of gun violence. Those affected by the recent shootings wish to promote the march as a “movement and not a moment.” The march has also inspired a national school walk-out on April 20 in honor of the victims of the 1999 Columbine school shooting. Those looking to participate in the national walkout on April 20 should wear orange shirts as a sign of solidarity.