Santa Barbara takes a stand against gun violence

Eva Beebe(Left), and Stella Moore chant and raise their signs during the March For Our Lives protest on Saturday at De La Guerra Plaza in Santa Barbara. March For Our Lives protesters stand in solidarity with the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in honor of the kids and teachers who died there and in support of all students who fear for their lives.

Sydney Antil, Channels Staff

Hundreds of students, educators, and citizens of all ages took to the streets Saturday in a student-led movement calling for stricter gun reform.

The “March for our Lives” took place in several cities across the US and was organized as a response to the school shooting on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“Today we stand on a precipice, one in which America must make a decision,” said Isabel “Izzy” Huerta, associated student body president-elect of San Marcos High School during the rally prior to the march. “A decision to either listen to the youth of this nation or to sit back and continue to let the gun lobby, the bot politicians, and the adults who forget each mass murder after the news cycle flips run this nation.”

Recent threats of gun violence to San Marcos, Huerta said, have manifested into students wondering about their safety when they’re sitting too close to the classroom door, feeling afraid to use the bathroom during class time or being caught alone in the halls and thinking of exit plan strategies in every classroom they sit in.

“The solutions we do seek involve adults and policy makers keeping us and not the gun lobbyists at the center of their work so we don’t see any more innocent lives lost,” she said. “We must not stop until we see the changes we are demanding, we have had enough.”

Activists marched up State Street while they held their signs up high in the air and led chants denouncing the NRA and showing solidarity with one another.

“I’m here today because I’m sick of watching these kids get slaughtered,” said Sophie Cameron, a City College student and marcher.

As the crowd started to disperse at the end of the march route, a group of kids sat in a circle on the ground at De La Guerra plaza holding signs chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go.”

The last speaker before the march began was California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who spoke about SB 113—a bill she created that changed state law to allow young people to pre-register to vote at age 16—and also spoke about how young people are the ones who are going to lead the revolution against gun violence.

“I wanna tell the young people who are here: Do not let anybody tell you you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t know what you’re talking about, you know it better than any of us because we are handing you that future,” said Jackson. “If you don’t like it, stand up and vote.

“In America still our voice is our vote and we are gonna make sure that voice is heard this year and every year until we kick the NRA out and bring sanity back into our country.”