TAMPA — On Saturday, thousands of students are expected to march in Tampa Bay as part of the March for Our Lives movement.
There are several local marches. One of them will be held at Curtis Hixon Park. It starts at 10 a.m.
“We shouldn't have to fight with and scream with our elected officials for them to support our lives over guns,” Bella Cruz-O’Grady, a student, said.
There has been a noticeable movement since February 14 when a gunman killed 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
“Gun violence effects us all despite our backgrounds. As students, I think we’ve been silenced for so long by just an inactive government that has not been listening to our demands,” Macie Lavender, a student, said.
Organizers say Saturday is a nonpartisan event. Their ultimate goal is getting assault rifles banned.
“Right now we are pushing for smaller changes that we feel are nonpartisan that we can all come to a compromise upon,” student Brooke Shapiro said.
The March for Our Lives movement will take over the streets of Washington D.C. on Saturday. There are several rallies in Tampa Bay. March for Our Lives Tampa Bay expects thousands of students at their event. They said students from more than 50 schools in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco counties will be a part of it.
“We are marching Saturday to keep the conversation about gun violence alive because the moment we let people forget about what has happened we return to silence and lose the fight,” Parisa Akbarpour, a student, said.
Other events include:
- 10 a.m. Clearwater – Pinellas Tax Collectors office 13025 Starkey Road
- 10 a.m. Plant City – Plant City High School
- 10 a.m. Sarasota – Island Park Drive
- 10 a.m. – Bowling Green (Hardee County)
- 10:30 a.m. Lakewood Ranch – The Learning Experience Randy
- 11 a.m. Oldsmar – The Learning Experience
- 11 a.m. St. Pete - Poynter Park at USFSP Campus
- 12 p.m. Madeira Beach – 15100 Gulf Blvd
- 12 p.m. Manatee Co – Bradenton Riverwalk
- 4 p.m. Palm Harbor – Hooked on Reading
- 6 p.m. Lake Wales – 1 Highlander
“I can sympathize with them. I understand where they’re coming from. They’re frustrated . They’re tired of going to school and feeling like they’re always under that pressure that something could happen to them, but that’s where we have to look at school safety and the things that we can do to secure our schools to make our children feel safer,” Paul Schaller said.
Former gun shop owner, Paul Schaller, does not believe the solution is gun control.
“I really wish the kids would concentrate more on school safety, school issues. Gun control is such a small part of it and if you take a look back in history and you try to use control to take care of the problem that’s not the solution,” Schaller said.
Schaller supports arming teachers.
“If the teachers feel like that’s what they want to do and they pass the background checks and everything, they should be allowed to,” Schaller said.