Walking down Broadway towards City Hall, one could hear the rhythmic echoes of the tom-tom and snare drum’s sound waves bouncing off the skyscrapers of downtown, Los Angeles. Cellphones and cameras turn and face the commotion that added to the excitement of the day. The South Pasadena High School Drumline had arrived.
A group of South Pasadena residents, organized by local attorney, Aman Thind, planned to attend the March for Our Lives event on March 24 that began from Pershing Square to Grand Park in front of LA City Hall. Tens of thousands participated locally in LA, while similar crowds gathered nationwide to take a stance against gun violence, encouraging law makers to implement regulations on gun control and cut ties with the National Rifle Association.
Students of all ages were the prime focus throughout the march as well as mass shooting survivors, namely those who have survived the Douglas Stoneman High School mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. South Pasadena Middle and High School students marched side by side with their parents to add their voices to the cause, as well as their beats.
Ben Fogel, a member of the SPHS Drumline, mentioned that it was his mom’s idea to have the students bring their drums for the march. “We’re obviously in support of the march, we believe that changes should be made against the NRA, but really it’s like any opportunity to play, it’s really fun.”
The surrounding crowd cheered, chanted, and danced to the rhythm of the SPHS Drumline. “Hey, Hey! Ho, ho! The NRA has got to go!”
Odessa Adlon, with Celeste Ollivier, both students from Champs Charter High School who were seen chanting along with the SPHS Drumline, mentioned that she was participating in the march “To protect our students… we’re standing up for what we need.” Adlon added that they are in fear of danger “for literally every single student across the U.S.”
A stage was set up at the steps of city hall where speakers were planned to discuss the problems involving gun violence within the U.S. today. Rebecca Mieliwocki, 2012’s National Teacher of the Year, represented teachers who disagree with the idea of arming teachers to combat possible mass shootings.
“I will never carry a weapon to work,” Mieliwocki stated, “Instead of arming us, we need to demand that our lawmakers help schools get safer by funding enough councilors, enough wellness support for children, and enough training for us so that we know how to spot and support at risk kids.”
Several celebrities were also among the crowd, advocating for stricter gun laws. T.V. personality and model, Kendall Jenner was seen chanting with a group of students along with actor, Jaden Smith and T.V. personality and model, Hailey Baldwin. Jenner and Baldwin both stopped to pet a pug puppy that sported a shirt that read “Pugs not Guns,” after exiting the March for Our Lives press area.
When asked how the March for Our Lives, compared to the National School Walkout that South Pasadena’s elementary, middle, and high schools participated in, Fogel explained that “This is on a much larger scale, and I feel like there is more meaning behind it… it’s a great experience, being involved in such a big movement.”