Indianapolis “March for Our Lives” Protest Draws Record CrowdsPosted on: March 24, 2018, by : Jeff Turner
The Indianapolis youth-led “March for Our Lives” protest took place this Saturday from 11 am-2 pm. Due to the weather, the event, originally intended to be a march, was moved inside the Statehouse, where thousands of people were in attendance. The line to get in stretched around the block as early as 10:30 am, and people were still coming in as late as 1 pm.
“It’s way past time for some type of sensible gun control legislation, to protect not just us, not just our kids, but everyone,” said Indiana native Dan Russel, one of the many who braved the wintry weather to attend the event. Russel felt “guilty of not being part of the movement. I thought at least I could show my support for the kids.” Russel was not alone in his sentiments, with many Hoosiers coming to the protest despite the winter weather advisory in effect.
Also present were several Indiana elected leaders, state and local, as well as Congressman Andre Carson and Senator Joe Donnelly. Donnelly gave a memorable speech calling for common sense gun control legislation, namely expanded background checks. Donnelly’s record on gun control is mixed, and he is considered to be the most vulnerable Democratic Senator in the country of those seeking reelection in November. His presence seemed to illustrate just how much support this youth-led call for sensible gun control laws has become.
“It’s time to end the NRA’s stranglehold on our politics,” said Bryan Lilienkamp, another attendee. He felt protests such as this one would have an effect on the overall gun control debate. “It’ll put things into stasis instead of pushing backwards — will stop things from getting worse.” Attendees ranged in age from toddlers to seniors, and a great many activist organizations also had tables set up in the Statehouse.
“I think these protests will have an effect. It’s important to have freedom of speech, to speak out. Movements have worked in the past. Why not now?” said Brooke Holmes, an IUPUI student attending the protest as a volunteer for the Indiana Democratic Party registering voters and recruiting volunteers to assist the party in its outreach efforts.
Most notable, however, is the fact that this truly is a youth-led movement, not one put on by crisis actors or co-opted by adults with their own agendas. And, given the large number of people in attendance, they have a great amount of support. “It’s a tragedy that we allow our kids to be slaughtered senselessly,” said Tom Sullivan, an Indianapolis resident. He felt that it was time for those in elected office who are obfuscating common sense gun control legislation to “stand up and act like adults.”
The message of the protest was clear, made evident by the rallying cry of those in attendance: Vote for change, vote for people who will stand up to the NRA, and promote gun control legislation. “No more moments of silence,” one of the high school students speaking said. “We have the power to defeat the gun control lobby.”
And he may well be right. The Parkland shooting in February has sparked a movement, one that it would seem is not dying out anytime soon, and if anything is gaining strength. Whether lawmakers in Washington, namely the GOP, will take notice however remains to be seen. But the Indianapolis youth-led protest, in concert with hundreds occurring simultaneously across the nation and around the globe, recommended a course of action for addressing those in Congress obstructing the gun control debate: “Vote them out.”