Edmonton’s march was one of dozens being held across Canada on Saturday.
“I’m a dual citizen, so I could very well be living in the States right now and I could very well be one of those victims,” Brianne Thompson, a student from Strathcona High School, said at the march.
“This year has been quite depressing seeing the news,” Tajrin Faurschou, a Strathcona High School student, said. “So supporting stuff like this and coming to stuff like this, it gives some hope and it makes me fell a lot better about my future.”
Organizer of March For Our Lives Edmonton, student Abbey Axelsson, said the issue has evolved into a global movement.
“I think it’s really important that people everywhere are able to show their support,” said Axelsson. “The problem they are facing in the United States is so incredibly bad.
“Politicians and adults have clearly dropped the ball on this one,” said Axelsson. “If young people have to take the lead, then they will continue to take the lead on issues like this.”
The March For Our Lives movement has been spearheaded by students in the U.S., with the survivors of the Parkland high school shooting becoming its face in the media.
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Axelsson is a student herself, and says she’s not surprised.
“Students and young people — it’s cliche, but we are the future,” said Axelsson. “We are the ones that are going to be dealing with the ramifications of everything that happens today in the future.”
Axelsson said she’s been in contact with march organizers in Washington who tell her they are seeing the impact that international attention is having on U.S. lawmakers.
“The more we pressure them, the more we amplify the voices around the world — the more pressure it’s putting on them and they are really cracking under the pressure right now.”
The march began at 1 p.m. with a moment of silence.
“Just to honour those who have lost their lives and those who have been affected, like friend or family.”
Speakers included Melissa Hennig, a survivor from the Las Vegas shooting who lives in Devon.
“We knew the general direction the bullets were coming from. We didn’t know at that time they were coming from an elevated position,” Hennig said. “To be running and feel like at any moment your life could be over.”
“As much as we do have a decent form of gun control here, it’s impossible to say we are not affected by it just because it’s on the other side of the border,” said Axelsson. “It’s just a line, it’s very easy to cross. Canadians are very affected by it as well.”
She said even though Canada has gun control, and doesn’t have the same problems with mass shootings as the U.S., it still is an issue that hits close to home.
Other speakers included Edmonton Public School Board Trustee for Ward G, Bridget Stirling, and Indigenous Men Against Violence Against Indigenous Women founder Damian Abrahams.
“The energy I’ve seen, it’s just amazing. It continues to inspire me to work harder along with this movement every day,” said Axelsson. “I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen in the future, but I really hope at the very least we’ve shown our support, we’ve made our impact. We’ve started a conversation about what needs to change.”