tv CNN Newsroom with Alisyn Camerota CNN March 24, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT
hello, everyone, welcome to our special coverage. i'm allison camerota in washington, d.c. the scene of the biggest march against violence. that the hour, the main event is getting under way. here in the nation's capital. there's a huge crowd that has engulfed much of pennsylvania avenue. one of the main drags where they'll be marching. the turnout is so big, in fact, at this moment, the crowd is actually too big to begin marching.
there's this boisterous army of protesters. they're here to send a message to the president and to lawmakers and to everyone who's listening. they're trying to prevent the next school shooting. and their battle cry is never again. so here's what the march for our lives website says they're marching for today. they want to pass a law banning assault weapons. they want to expand background checks to eliminate the loopholes in the sales of guns at gun shows as well as online. obviously this movement, though, is not monolithic. there are lots of people here we'll talk to that have their own ideas for how to cut down on gun violence. but those are the three stated goals. so this movement of course was born in the first days after the high school massacre in parkland, florida. the students from marjory stoneman douglas who lost 17 of their classmates and teachers,
they ignited this movement, and there are hundreds of those students here today. and several will address the crowd over the next few hours. we'll bring those to you as they happen. and they have become the new voices in this gun debate that of course has been deadlocked for years in this country. houns of other march for our live events are taking place around the country today. and the movement has gone global. protests are being held across the world to try to stop gun violence. so i i am joined now by cnn senior national correspondent, he is in boston. tell us what the scene is there,' lex. >> it is a massive and growing protest, impossible to say how many people have turned out today. it stretches as far as the eye can see. as you can hear, it is a loud energetic happy protest. there have been some -- many poignant moments, strong moments, of these people calling, of these young students
calling for change, calling for greater gun control legislation. in addition to the strong messages they're sending, we can see some of these signs. my textbooks are not my shields. and, "caution, students are dying." the students here are not just from boston. they're from the surrounding area, including all the way up from maine. a number of students from parkland, e iing lesley shu, who graduated from stoneman douglas. how is the march going so far? >> it's going great. i've never felt so empowered in my life. >> what do you think the family of stoneman douglas is feeling today just over a month since that horrific strategy? >> a lot of sorrow. a lot of pride. a lot of pride for our town. it's important to remember, this is not just in parkland. it is in every community, especially those of color. but they've not been given the platform and we are lifting them
up. this is not just parkland. >> not just about school shootings you've been saying. this is about gun violence in general. >> yes, it's not just about school, it's not just about movie theaters. it's about people's homes, people's streets, everywhere. >> have you been in touch with your fillo former students and current students from stoneman? >> every day. >> are they happy with the way things are going today? >> yes. every day, i talk to my friends and we are so proud to be part of this movement. this is not a moment, this is a movement. >> what happened after the parade when the crowds go home? what are you hoping? >> we go home and we keep making change. people register to vote and vote out those who are not with us. >> the focus today is very much on the students, very much on the young people, not on elected officials, not on adults. you did speak with senator elizabeth warren earlier today. what did she tell you, what did you tell her? >> she told us to keep doing what we are doing and she will fight for us. politicians and electeds need to
listen to us but not just one in one ear and not the the other. they need to take action. i need action. not just open promises. actual change. >> thank you so much, lesley. >> thank you. >> alysyn, we're on our way to boston commons where this will begin. i've covered marches, demonstrations around the world. they're usually led by adults. today, the adults have been literally pushed to the side, told that this is not about you today, this is not your moment. the people lining the parade route here are from the older generation. they're the parents. they're the teachers. the people in the crowd. they are the students. as we've been saying, it is about them today. >> listen, alex, we've been saying, if you want energy, find a teenager. they know intensity. the young woman you just
interviewed who feels so empowered she said. thank you, a lex. we want to bring in cnn's diane gallagher. she's with a group of students who made the trip here from parkland, florida. diane, i know you've been with the parkland students for weeks now, so tell us how their journey here has been. >> yes, you know, we arrived the day of the shooting. we've been with these students basically every day since. we've traveled with them. i have lauren haw with me here. she testified at a congressional briefing. you're a freshman at marjory stoneman douglas high school. you lost four of your friends in the shooting. this has not been easy. what is it like seeing all of this today? >> seeing this, it's just surreal. what happened was so tragic, but this is just beautiful, it's genuinely amazing that these many people who weren't directly affected by this are so passionate about it. >> show me something really quick because a lot of us have to wear credentials because there's a lot of people here. lauren, you guys have these special credentials.
talk to me about this one dollar and five cents you're wearing. >> we being too the amount of money that marco rubio took from the nra and divided it by every single student in the state of florida so this is how much we're worth to the government. it's a price tag. >> that's a really raw way of putting it. the message there gets attention, but are we going to hear about that from on stage from you guys? >> i'm not sure yet. you'll just have to wait and see. >> i so appreciate you being here with us. they've got a lot planned. we've heard students not just from marjory stoneman douglas but students all around the country who have been affected by gun violence as young as 11 years old. we marched in from a hotel about a mile away today with the alum knew, alumni, the teachers, the parents, the students, as they tried to part the sea of people coming up to this stage area. you probably can't see too much behind me but this entire beginning part, right here in front of this stage, it is going
to be full of not just marjory stoneman douglas high school students but students from around country including those from the high school in pennsylvania who got detention for walking out on national walkout today. a lot of kids wearing school color, representing their school, trying to make sure people are aware this is a youth movement. they are proud of it. they're not looking at it like it's a bad thing it's young people running the show here. in their mind, that makes this better, that makes this more pure. >> dianne gallagher, thank you. we want to bring in cnn's rene marsh, she is near the performance stage. rene, i know there's lots of high-profile names performing today. >> yes, this is the main stage where people have been actually lining up since around 6:30 this morning when we got here. they're really packed in. it's their spring break. they're out here in full force because they're so passionate about this. on this main stage behind me,
we're going to see speakers throughout the afternoon. it should be kicking n ining of few moments. celebrities like common, jennifer hudson, audrey o'day, miley cyrus. taking to the stage to essentially support these young people who are pushing for stricter gun rights. what's so striking when you look out at this crowd, it really is diverse, i mean, very reflective of what america looks like. it just strikes you that this is the next generation of voters, and they have a very specific message. i just spoke to senator bill nelson. just a short time ago. and he recognized that. and he believes other lawmakers here in washington, d.c. should recognize it too. take a listen. >> we've had enough. they are giving voice and faces that are directly affected. they're demanding action.
i believe it will come. but it's not going to come until you start changing some of the people at election time. >> all right, and these young people are saying that they plan on doing just that, d.c. police planning for a half a million people here and we expect this to all get under way in just a short moment, back to you, alysyn. >> okay, rene, thank you. amid all the blood shed during the school massacre, there were stories of heroism. including geography teacher scott beagle. he shielded his students. he stayed at the door of his classroom to get them inside, but he lost his own life doing so. there is now a woman that you will recognize, it is scott's mother, linda beagle shulman. we talked to her in the days right after this tragedy. she's here with us today. thank you so much for being here. i remember obviously talking to
you in these grief stricken moments. what's it like now five weeks later? >> it's amazing. it's a fabulous movement. it's going to continue. the students are vocal. you know, people say to me there are no words. and, you know what, today, there are words. >> back then there were no words. today there are >> i mean, you found your voice. the students have found their voice. you didn't want to be an advocate against gun violence, this isn't something you choose, but here you are. >> this is my passion right now, this is my calling, this is my legacy to my son. >> after this happened, you went
to the florida state legislature. you met with lawmakers there. guess what, laws were passed. they acted after that. i know you've spoken to lawmakers here in washington. can you just tell us, share with us, if you can what some of those conversations have been like. >> i got a phone call from marco rubio. he called me. and we had quite a -- we had a 45-minute conversation. he was explaining his position. he was explaining what he was going to do. and it was interesting. when i was first told he called, i was like, oh, why am i talking to him, he doesn't believe in anything that we want to have happen. it was so amazing. i was so pleasantly surprised. >> i want to hear all the things he said to you. this is such a beautiful song. this is audra day "rise up."
let's pause one moment so we can listen to this. ♪ we will rise ♪ we will rise ♪ we will rise up ♪ i'll rise up ♪ i'll raise like the day ♪ i'll rise up ♪ and i'll do it a thousand times again ♪ ♪ and we'll rise up ♪ high like the waves ♪ we'll rise up ♪ in spite of the ache we'll rise up ♪ ♪ and we'll do it a thousand times again ♪ ♪ for you ♪ for you ♪ for you
♪ for you >> god bless ya'll, rise up to what you guys are doing today, stand up, because we won't stand for this anymore. ya'll ready? ya'll ready? please give it up for baltimore choir. >> okay, we've been listening there to andra day and the cardinal school choir. that song gives me goose bumps. you were telling me how marco rubio called you. you had a 45-minute conversation. you're not his constituent.
you live in new york. what were the things he told you he was going to do? >> we talked a lot about common ground. i explained to him that i certainly have my political philosophies. but those are so put aside. we talked about -- he talked to me about -- he said, you know, if there are -- if in congress he said if there are ten things we all agree on, the right and the left. if there are ten issues. he said if five of them we all agree on. he said why don't we pass those five, and then let's debate the other five. >> he had said let's start with the easy stuff. it seems like that's what they did last night. they started with the stop school violence act. it doesn't touch guns but it does do other interventions. in terms of identifying possible risks. so it sounds like that's what they're trying to do.
did you feel better about that? >> i did. i did feel better. but i also liked when he said that he was working more towards the middle. i like that. i just saw one of the clips from cnn and one of the students was holding up that marco rubio took this amount of money from the nra. i really feel like we need to get past that. we need to go and talk to the people who we see aren't on our side so to speak. we need to get those people -- not fight them, speak to them. explain to them. make them listen to us, be heard and have them more move to the middle. >> about your son, scott, as you know, his students have spoken so emotionally about him, including kelsey friend who says that he saved her life. i know when we were together in parkland, you were able to meet her. you had sort of an emotional
meeting. she promised she was going to stay in touch with you. has she stayed in touch with you? >> kelsey has called me. in the beginning she called me almost every day. i promised her i would take the phone call if i could, otherwise i'd call her back. i have either spoken to kelsey. she also brought two of her friends with her. i've spoken to them. if i don't speak to her, we text. she is -- it's not scott calling me, but it's a tiny piece of scott that calls me and yes, she's called me. it just, it brings me back to parkland every day. >> wow, that's beautiful. i'm so glad ta yhat you two hav this relationship and something good has come out of this. linda, thank you very much for sharing all of your feelings with us and we're cheering you on, thanks so much. >> thank you so much. >> we're going to have much more of our special live coverage from washington, d.c. and around the country next.
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let's listen in. >> to keep our country moving forward. and we will. we hereby promise to fix the broken system we've been forced into and create a better world for the generations to come. don't worry. we've got this. the people of this country now see past the lies. we've seen this narrative before. for the first time, the corrupt aren't controlling our story, we are. the corrupt aren't manipulating the facts. we know the truth. shooting after shooting, the american people now see one thing they all have in common, the weapons. politicians either represent the people or get out. the people demand a law banning the sale of assault weapons. the people demand we prohibit the sale of high capacity magazines. the people demand universal background checks. stand for us or beware, the voters are coming. on february 14th, tragedy struck
my hometown and my school marjory stoneman douglas high. alyssa ahladek. scott beigel. luke hoyer. joaquin oliver. alaina petty. meadow pollack. helena ramsay. alex schachter. today is nicholas' birthday. nicolas, we are all here for you. happy birthday. their families endured great pain. thousands of young people, my classmates, were forced to become adults and were targeted as adults. we have to do this for them. we must stand beside those we've lost and fix the world that betrayed them. this doesn't just happen in schools. americans are being attacked in
churches, nightclubs, movie theaters, on the streets. we, the people, can fix this. for the first type ime in a lon while, i look forward ten years and i feel hope. i see light. i see a system i'll be proud of. but it all starts with you. the march is not the climax of this movement. it is the beginning. it is the spring board off of which my generation and all who stand with us will jump into a safer future. today is a bad day for tyranny and corruption. today we take to the streets at over 800 marches around the globe and demand commonsense gun laws. today is the beginning of a bright new future for this country. and if you think today is good, just wait for tomorrow. we must protect, educate and inspire the future. and everybody here is proof that we will do that and the future is looking very bright for this country. thank you.
>> okay, we've been listening to cameron kasky, one of most outspoken students who survived the parkland school shooting about five weeks ago. so he called there for what the students want to see and it has to do with gun reform. let's go now to cnn's ryan young. he's in chicago. you heard cameron there talking about all of the many marches that are happening around the country and around the world. ryan, what are you seaing in chicago? >> yes, the rally here just starting. we just had a young lady get on stage and talk about how she lost a classmate just recently due to gun violence. this is so passionate for people here because they deal with gun violence all the time. just since the parkland shooting alone, there's been more than 175 people shot in the city. to kind of show you how it stretches. you can see this alumni association from parkland. they came here to show their strength and togetherness. how did you come together after the shooting? >> just a few days after the
shooting, overnight, we had an alumni net work of over 11,000 people. we actually formed just a few days after. and since then, alumni across the country have been putting on events, raising awareness. we were instrumental in getting students to d.c. just last week, we had a benefit to fund raise for march for our lives raising over $4,000 for these students to put on this event. we want to be helpful from parkland to chicago, everywhere in between. >> what's this pain like? obviously, it's your school. everyone's talking, they're galvanized. i've seen you guys come together. what's this like to see everyone now, even in chicago together? >> it's very inspiring. especially these students. it's -- it's just -- we got to get out and fight. it's great to be here today. and to be in chicago. you know, a lot of us -- i felt like i was going to go to d.c. but i'm proud to be here in chicago where i feel like we really need to be together and fighting. >> the big conversation here, you hear it over and over again, is kind of changing the
conversation, especially here in the city, where a lot of the victims of gun violence are black and brown. they really want to see a difference here. you think about almost every four minutes, someone is shot in the city. you have people who are on the stage. they all have to be under the age of 21. as you look back here, you hear them talking about big subject in terms of trying to protect communities, trying to come together, trying to inspire a change. and they're not only talking about the changing guns laws, but just the idea that they want to make sure there's a combination in terms of classes and the idea that they want to make sure that this community can come together and get some of these assault rifles off the street because in urban areas, we know there's so much damage when it comes to what happens in the streets of chicago. >> ryan, you're so right. i mean, listen, obviously after a school shooting, it galvanize h the country, it gets so much attention, but then there's places where there's violence everyday. all right. we want to bring in, now, cnn's
ed lavandera. look at the crowd there, by the way in chicago. ed lavandera, you have been spending time with survivors of gun violence from across the country. so tell us what they're saying to you. >> hi, alisyn, we're here with a group of unique people, they connect simply by sharing one name, aurora theater, tucson, orlando, las vegas. these are all the horrific tragedies that have bonded this group together, survivors or people who lost loved ones. a young woman who lost a father who was a professor at virginia tech. this is the horrific tragedy that bonded them all together. they wanted to be here on this day, alisyn, to support the students of stoneman douglas, to be here to listen to their speeches. they say it's important. they have been -- they were kind of -- they all talk about how
they were thrust into activism because of the horrific tragedy that fell upon them. they've met a lot of struggles. they say frankly things have been very slow to change. oftentimes perhaps feeling a lis bit discouraged. they wanted to feel reinvigorated by the students, the young kids, to hear them speak. how we often talk about how kids are supposed to learn from their elders. the group behind us has often told me in this particular case it's the elders who have come here to learn from the young kids, to walk away reinvigorated. to fight the fights they're battling in their own communities. that's why they wanted to be here today, alisyn. >> i've heard so many people say that about all these teenage protesters as well. obviously that's a club those folks never wanted to be in but here they are today. ed, thank you very much. we want to go now to cnn's jason carroll. he's in new york with the protests happening there. jason, what's the scene? >> well, the march has already
started down central park south. so many people started, actually, jumping in from the sidelines and joining in on the march. we've heard so many marches today, voices from survivors, voices from family members. just a little short while ago, i spoke to paul mccartney about what this march means for him and why it's become so personal. >> what do you hope can be accomplished? >> end gun violence. >> do you think that can happen at the legislative level? we've seen it in places like florida and here in new york. >> i'm like everyone, i don't know. but this is what we can do. and so i'm here to do it. one of my best friends was killed in gun violence. right around here. so it's important to me. >> just a short while ago, we also spoke to the governor who said it's important not just to march today but to take action
tomorrow. and to have these people to have their voices heard. one of those folks out here right now, a mother who marched 17 years ago and is also out here again today who said you were angry? >> i'm angry. i'm angry because we went to washington for the million mom march and nothing has happened. and nothing will happen until people voice their vote and they vote at the polls and we vote out the republicans who are basically bought and sold by the nra. >> one of the things i keep hearing over and over is that while accomplishments have been made at the state level, when you look at what happened in florida, you look at what happened in the state of new york with tough gun legislation. but nothing yet at the national level. what do you think it's going to take? >> first of all, you got to keep it local. the new york laws need to be tightened up. the new york state senate has to step up. it's going to take the nation and the voters to reject anyone who takes money from the nra and to vote out the people who are blocking the laws. there's no reason that somebody
needs to have a semiautomatic weapon. that is not what our founders meant. that's not what the constitution says. >> clear what you guys are doing today. what do you think you will be doing tomorrow and going forward? >> well, i mean, everyone has to realize that enough is enough. and we have to continue this movement. it's not a moment, it's a movement. we've got to keep moving forward and pressing to get common sense gun control and laws changed. that's what we have to do every day until it's done. >> thanks very much. you guys keep marching. right now, we've got thousands of people standing shoulder to shoulder, heading down central park south. we're going to keep marching. bringing it to you live, back to you, alisyn. >> all right, jason, thank you. i'm sitting next to april ryan who when she saw paul mccartney, started singing give peace a chance. right now, i want to bring you to the main stage. this is delaney tar. she's another student from stoneman douglas high school.
let's listen to what she has to say. >> they know that if there is no tightening of the background checks, we will vote them out. they know that if there is no shrinking of magazine capacity that we will vote them out. if they continue to ignore us, to only pretend to listen, then we will take action where it counts. we will take action every day in every way until they simply cannot ignore us anymore. today, we march, we fight, we roar. we prepare our signs. we raise them high. we know what we want. we know how to get it. we are not waiting any longer. thank you. [ cheers and applause ] >> we will have much more of our special live coverage from washington, d.c. and this march for our lives next, stay with
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♪ i will be rise iing like a s y skyscraper ♪ ♪ like a skyscraper ♪ like a skyscraper ♪ like a skyscraper ♪ like a skyscraper >> msd strong! >> well, we've been listening to a really emotional performance by demi lovato, the song is "skyscraper" then you heard her say marjory stoneman douglas strong. had the crowd gripped. let's talk about the progress that congress is making in terms
of fighting gun violence. there are some things that happened last night we should tell you about. part of this omnibus spending bill signed by president trump yesterday. in it, congress strengthened the federal background check system and they added $100 million annually to enhance school security. both were proposals bu s pushed number of senators including marco rubio in florida which is the site of the marjory stoneman douglas school shooting. i failed to mention that, in fact, there's been a lot he's been doing behind the scenes. so i want to highlight some of those thing because i think it would be helpful for viewers to hear all that has been happening leading up to yesterday's legislation. so senator rubio, as you heard from scott beigel's mom, he met and called victims and victim's families. he participated of course in the cnn town hall. he's also bucked his own party and the nra to support raising
the age limit to buy some guns from 18 to 21. this week, he and fellow florida senator bill nelson announced a bipartisan bill to try to keep people with mental health issues from having guns. this is similar to the temporary restraining orders that florida put in place after parkland and connecticut put in place after new town. in fact, the senator's office tells me that starting tomorrow he will be focused on getting that so-called red flag bill passed. and in other words, this march does not end the push for change in congress. so let me bring in now our guests. cnn political analyst april ryan and james galiano, former fbi supervisory special agent. great to have you both here. things have happened in the five weeks since the parkland massacre. i mean, just, april, last night what i just mentioned, these things they don't tackle gun reform, but they sure seem like steps in the right direction. let me just tell people, the
stop school violence act. it identified warning signs. it tries to intervene. it allows for anonymous reporting systems. it develops crisis intervention teams. it better coordinates between schools and law enforcement. i mean, those are all things that might have been able to help with parkland. >> there were steps, but there needs to be more of a comprehensive approach. you've got a lot of issues. you've got more issues like, you know, i just talked to the mayor of baltimore city, catherine pew, and the police commissioner, daryl desous sa, and they were saying, you know, that's a city that doesn't have a gun shop in the city limits. but they're getting an increase of illegal guns. and that's another issue. and then i talked to senator james clyburn of south carolina this week, and he said what's in this bill is great, but, you know, when it comes to background checks, the devil's in the details. there's this little loophole where you've got, if you go past -- if you can make the, extend the time period of the background check beyond three
days, you can get a gun without worrying about the background check. so there is a lot of loophole kind of things. there's a lot of devil in the detail things. this is a bigger issue. the impetus right now, the movement, the hope here, stemmed from the school house shooting. when we think of shootings, you know, we see people listening to the concert with their hands up don't shoot. shootings in this nation encompass churches, school houses, theater, so many different places. it's small incremental steps. >> the students want more than what happened last night but, again, it didn't happen after las vegas. the bump stocks and the doj just took action today about bump stocks. it didn't happen after 58 people were mowed down in las vegas. things are slowly moving. you're in law enforcement, james. what do you think the answer is? >> the wheels of change are happening. i'm getting chills just having this conversation. just north of the national mall.
where women suffrage started and civil rights. i want to put this into personal context. this is also where the vietnam protests took place. my father's a vietnam war veteran. i'm a west point graduate. i think we need to get to a place which i think this movement is beginning where we're trying to talk to each other instead of at each other. as a conservative, as a law enforcement professional for 25 year, as a gun owner what you mentioned that is low-hanging fruit. the fact that 97% of the american people believe in universal background checks. >> that's huge. >> where's the 3% is what i want to know. how do we not make that happen? the bump stock. you have a legal weapon. you add an illegal gimmick work-around device. it's now illegal. how do we not work our way around it? >> a military-style weapon. >> it turns it into a weapon of war. >> now they're attempting to fix that. there has been movement on banning those bump stocks now. >> but the president has been talking about i can do this i can do this.
we're just starting to hear him really talk about making movement on this. he talked about it at the town hall at the white house with the victims of school house shootings. and then he talked about it with congressional leaders. and the question is, is this movement this week that the president talked about just in the last couple of hours really, is this really just for this moment strategically placed for this moment as he had been talking about it before or is this going to keep moving on? this is a movement, this is not a moment. >> these kids all say this is not the end, this is basically the start of what they plan to do. they have another walkout plan. they're keeping the momentum going. let's talk about one thing that it sounded like the president, as well as republican senators like senator marco rubio, all democratic senators wanted but it hasn't happened, raising the age limit to buy certain rifles from 18 to 21. so that sounded like something that was going to have a consensus but nothing has happened on that.
>> i've got been in trouble before for trying to speak to this. again, i am perfectly situated to talk about it. because people scream at me if i say i don't believe that an 18-year-old needs to have an assault weapon. let's make sure we clarify what an assault weapon is. pistol grip, shrouded barrel, those are things now every jurisdiction defines them differently but that's an assault weapon. it is a weapon of war. when i argue an 18-year-old shouldn't be able to purchase one, people screamed yes, but in the revolutionary war, we rose up against king george and there were 15 year olds serving. it is a different time. there's also the issue with the gun show loophole. 18-year-olds cannot buy handguns. the reason why there's a restriction on that, handguns are concealable and obviously it's a lot harder to hide a rifle. but if you can go to a gun show and it's not a federally
regulated dealer selling that weapon, they sell them to an 18-year-old and it's not against the law for them to own it. >> the crazy piece is you're talking about the gun show loophole. this is 2018. when clinton was president, he was trying to close the gun show loophole. i'm going to tell you this, and we're not calling it out for what it is. one of the reasons why there's a big issue around raising the age limit on these military style weapons is the nra. and even if the president said, hey, i'm for raising the age, the nra is still close to too many members in the house and senate to be able to -- for the president to make something happen. >> i understand. they're opposed to it. but the president said he wanted it. so we'll see. i mean, we'll just see -- >> those members will stop him at every step. >> i don't think it's necessarily the enemy. we need to move closer to being able to talk to them and have a sensible conversation without demonizing them. >> i am not demonizing them. >> i think we have to all agree
alright, i brought in high protein to help get us moving. ...and help you feel more strength and energy in just two weeks! i'll take that. -yeeeeeah! ensure high protein. with 16 grams of protein and 4 grams of sugar. ensure. always be you. i'm alisyn camerota. this is basically ground zero for march for our lives. it seems as though hundreds of thousands of students and their
supporters have all turned out across the country. this is the biggest one here in washington, d.c. the impetus was the massacre at stoneman douglas high school and hundreds of those students have come here now to get the attention of lawmakers and the president and everyone around the country. this is alex wind, he is of stoneman douglas high school. l let's listen to what he says. >> senseless violence on the cities of our nation and cities like miami, chicago and baltimore. it needs to stop. people believe that the youth of this country are insignificant. people believe that the youths have no voice. when joan of arc fought, she was 17 years old. when mozart wrote his first symphony, he was 8 years old.
to those who say teenagers can't do anything, i say we were the only people that could have made this movement possible. together, we will use our voices to make sure that our schools, churches, movie theaters and concerts and our streets become safer without having them feel like prisons. if teachers start packing heat, are they going to arm our past r pastors, ministers and rabbis? are they going to arm the guy taking tickets at the movie theater? are they going to arm the person wearing the mickey mouse costume at disney? this is what the national rifle association wants, and we will not stand for it! we would not need metal detectors and clear backpacks and more weapons in our streets if there weren't weens of war in the hands of civilians! for too long, our government has been useless on this issue.
our job as their constituents is to make sure we know what they're thinking. there are over 250 representatives that have not come out with a public stance on this issue. it is our job to make sure that we call them up and force them out of the shadows of corruption and into the light of justice. as teens, people think that we don't like to wait around for things and they're sometimes right. a lot of you are probably wondering what now. now we need to come together on all fronts and push aside those that divide us. now we need to get on the phone and call our representatives and push them to stop incumbency and take action. now we need to educate ourselves on which politicians are truly working for the people and which ones we want to vote out! because at the end of the day, bullets do not discriminate.
so why should we? it is not about your race. it is not about your sexual orientation. it is not about your ethnicity. it is not about your gender. it is not about where you live or how much money you make. it most certainly is not about political parties. all it comes down to is life or death! to all the politicians out there, if you take money from the nra, you have chosen death! if you have not expressed your constituents a public stance on this issue, you have chosen death. if you do not stand with us by saying we need to pass commonsense gun legislation, you have chosen death. and none of the millions of people marching in this country today will stop until they see those against us out of office. because we choose life! thank you. i love you all! [ cheers and applause ]
>> okay, you've been listening there to alex wind, one of the very passionate students from stoneman douglas. the things he said that got the crowd very riled up were the power of teenagers to change the world. that's what he talked about. you can hear the passion all these students have. they want congress and the president to listen to what they want to see with gun reform. but this is not the only march and demonstration that's happening. it's happening all across the country. cnn's miguel marquez is covering the march for our lives in los angeles. >> several hundred thousand people getting ready to march to city hall where they will have a full day of rallying, marches. i want to give you a sense of what's happening in the crowd right now. they are sort of rallying the
crowd here at the beginning of the march. several thousand people have turned out. they are angry not only at the national rifle association and at republican politicses, but democrats as well. basically a lack of action across the board in politics is what they want to see end on gun control. they want to see much more here. we did have a chance to speak to one man who is here in a wheelchair. he's a 36-year-old man now. he was 17 years old when he was a student at columbine high school in colorado. he was shot eight times there. says he still has bullets in his body. we'll bring a little bit of that to you later on. rich is his name. it's very difficult for him to speak, but it is amazing to be at a rally like this, an occasion like this, and have that -- the gun violence, individuals from across the country, so close to it in every community, all of them now approaching congress, the president, to do something.
alisyn. >> thank you very much, miguel. we're listening right now to lin manuel miranda on stage along with ben plat obviously of hanson fame. they're going to sing a song. let's listen in. ♪ did you ever feel like you could disappear ♪ ♪ like you could fall ♪ and no one would hear ♪ well that lonely feeling wash away ♪ ♪ we see is lost ♪ it's right there ♪ it's a reason to believe you'll be okay ♪ ♪ because when you don't feel strong enough to stand ♪ ♪ you can reach ♪ reach out your hand
♪ raise your hands to freedom ♪ something they can never take away ♪ ♪ no matter what they tell you ♪ someone will come running to take you home it is ♪ ♪ they'll be more of us ♪ let that lonely feeling wash away ♪ ♪ cause maybe there's a reason to believe you'll be okay ♪ ♪ for forever ♪ it's only a matter of time it is ♪ even when the dark comes crashing through ♪ ♪ when you need a friend to carry you ♪ ♪ ♪ when you're broken on the ground ♪ ♪ you will be found ♪ so let the sun come streaming in ♪ ♪ because you'll reach up and you'll rise again ♪ if you only look around ♪ ♪ you will be found ♪ and when our children tell their story ♪ ♪ you wil