On Saturday, March 24, a passionate crowd of over 100,000 turned out for the Denver edition of the March for Our Lives. Youths created the event to support common-sense gun legislation. To provide a venue where citizens of all ages could stand up and be counted. To make sure the country and its political representatives hear the protests against the culture of gun extremism. To inspire. To say, once and for all, that enough is enough.
And when people protest, they bring signs. At other marches, these tend to vary widely in content and tone; some are serious, but some can be funny. Nerd-tastic, even. At Saturday’s March for Our Lives, the signs were heartfelt and poignant and indignant and reasoned — just what you might expect from a new generation working to make sure its voice is fully and clearly heard. Here are twenty of the most affecting messages from Colorado youth.
1. The Children of Your Country Are Calling You to Action
Two of these young women gave up tickets to see Hamilton in order to march. If you don't understand the gravity of that sacrifice, if you can't see how this proves their commitment, then you don't understand the power of Lin-Manuel Miranda.
2. Maybe None of Us Need Pizza
Also, and this probably goes without saying, pizza is a hell of a lot tastier than guns.
3. All I Need Are These Two Guns
And he wore a muscle shirt, just so you could admire them.
4. Protect Kids, Not Guns
That message written on their hands? "Don't shoot."
5. We Shall Overcome
Lots of the kids at the March were young women, empowered by the Women's Marches, the #MeToo movement, and the radical notion that they, too, have a voice.
6. An American Solution
What's more American than protest? This is, as the crowd chanted, what Democracy looks like.
7. A Life Is More Important Than Your Shooting Hobby
To be fair, the rational folks who enjoy shooting as a hobby probably agree with this sentiment, since two-thirds of Americans support strict gun control. But the sign does put the comparison into effective contrast, doesn't it?
8. NRA Puppets
Neither Mike Coffman nor Cory Gardner were popular with the crowd at the March, considering that both have taken significant money (and earned an A rating) from the NRA.
9. Are You F!#*king Kidding?
Our national representatives might not be kidding — but everyone marching on Saturday considered their work on sensible gun control to be a joke.
10. Students' Rights Are Human Rights
Let me help you with that sign on the right: Fortnite is a shootout-and-survival game for various video-game platforms. The sign was yet another signal that kids can easily separate video game violence from the real thing — and claiming otherwise is just a bullshit smokescreen meant to obfuscate the real problem.
11. When Our Children Act Like Leaders and Our Leaders Act Like Children...
...we get our current socio-political situation. (Also: The Cheeto is a nice multimedia touch.)
12. Thoughts and Prayers Can't Stop Bullets
A good reminder to those whose response to gun violence begins and ends with lip service. Like the sign below says: Kids (and all Americans) deserve better.
13. Students Demand Action
Sarah Shortall is one of the founders of CU Boulder's new organization Students Demand Action and a survivor of the Arapahoe High School shooting in 2013.
14. We Are Hostages of the NRA
That bulletproof vest sale sounds pretty sweet, though.
15. As a Girl, I Hope to Have as Many Rights as a Gun Someday
What's so empowering is that these girls were surrounded by people who hoped the very same thing.
16. American Lives or Guns?
Lots of young people, whether they hunt or not, whether they shoot or not, whether they come from an NRA family or not, are starting to ask this question.
17. I Thought You Were Pro-Life?
Do you need some aloe for that sick burn, religious right?
18. This Isn't What Our Forefathers Had in Mind
This was a common theme for some of the more historically minded in the crowd. The Second Amendment fans among the NRA faithful like to ignore the "well-regulated" language, which was included even back in the ball-and-musket days of yore.
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19. Isaiah 11:6
20. Who's Next?
The march was all about not having to keep asking this question.