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March for Our Lives – Frankfurt

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On the 24th of March, Democrats Abroad Germany hosted the march, March for Our Lives in Frankfurt, Germany. At approximately 12pm, 50 to 60 people showed up in front of the Alte Oper to commence the march led by march leader Pat Klipp. Beginning in Alte Oper, the group proceeded down towards the city centre Hauptwache and down to the famous Frankfurt Römer Platz. There, the supporters stood and listened to each others speeches and advocated for gun control in the US.

Although American students were not permitted by their government to take part in the march, many German students, students from International Schools including Frankfurt International School and adults ranging from parents to artists came to support the march. As the march led down to the Römer Platz, on goers cheered the people chanting, “NRA, go away” and “What do we want? Gun control. When do we want it? Now!”

March for Our Lives was a movement that emerged in the US after the cries heard from the gun shooting at Stoneman Douglas high school shooting that occurred on the 14th of February. Teenagers throughout the country initially led the march but it became widespread with advocates for gun control marching in countries over the 7 continents of the world. “Guns are responsible for approximately 7000 children’s deaths and injuries yearly” said Don Ridgeway, a speaker and member of the Democrats Abroad Germany.

At the Römer Platz, the organisers brought the people together and recognised them to speak about the gun issue in America. Many speakers spoke emotionally, apologising for their current president or addressing the issue that young students like themselves were being targeted and in terror rather than being able to study. Other speakers such as Ridgeway addressed gun control by sharing statistics of gun shooting incidents in the US.

It is not a hidden fact that America has a long history of gun violence in schools. Between 1900 and 1999, there were 225 incidents involving teachers, students and firearms but it has majorly escalated since then. Between 2000 and 2018, already 212 incidents have occurred, killing hundreds, injuring millions.

In his speech, Ridgeway strongly reiterated, “school violence is just a byproduct of the violence that we experience on a daily basis.” Another speaker emphasised that the minimum age for a child to own a gun is off the charts compared to the legal age for driving a vehicle or consuming alcohol. Especially with media well present in the lives of children, they can often mistake those in video games and movies with reality. As the speaker mentioned, how could it be possible for a 12 year old to grasp the concept that in a video game, the character may revive after being shot but in reality, a killed person will not live again.

The march in Frankfurt ended with the advocates holding hands, bowing their heads and singing ‘What a Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong in order to commemorate the many lives lost in US school shootings. In the summer, the Democrats Abroad Germany will host another march in Frankfurt for gun control. More information will be posted on their Facebook page under Democrats Abroad Germany in the near future.

This generation of young people is not the first to try and combat this issue. Gun control movements have been present for a long time in the history of America but this may be the most prominent yet. The march itself, although led by students, is the first real test to see whether young adults that do not have voting rights to change something about the government currently and amendments and rights. When asking her opinion of how teenagers would make a difference with this march, Klipp replied, “The teenagers will pressure their parents and adults to make a change.” Although the march was spread amongst all 51 states, how much of it can really affect the people of America? The march, for our generation, is the first step to a journey of inputting into everyone that it is morally wrong to kill someone.

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March for Our Lives – Frankfurt