Friday, September 29, 2023

March for Our Lives Williamsburg draws more than a thousand gun control advocates

More than a thousand peaceful protesters gathered before the Colonial Capitol Saturday afternoon with a message.

“Enough is enough.”

Chants such as this echoed along Duke of Gloucester Street during Williamsburg’s March for Our Lives, as countless local voices joined those across the U.S. in demanding an end to gun violence.

Other chants, such as “This is what democracy looks like,” “Vote them out,” and “The NRA [National Rifle Association] has got to go,” were also repeated throughout the afternoon.

The local March for Our Lives began at 2 p.m. and was one of several hundred that took place across the country. Maj. Greg Riley of the Williamsburg Police Department said the department estimated 1,200 people attended the Williamsburg march.

The marches come in the wake of a shooting in February, in which 17 students were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Students across Greater Williamsburg and the U.S. participated in National Walkout Day earlier this month.

People in attendance Saturday held signs, joined together in chants, and gave their attention to speakers, including Rev. Max Blalock of the United Methodist Church Wesley Foundation, Del. Mike Mullin, D-Newport News, local pediatrician Mark C. Downey, Woodside High School teacher Katrina Landon, and Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig of the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists.

Local students also took the microphone and called for gun reform and safer schools.

“We are here because we want, we need, we demand gun control,” said Isabella Riofrio, an 8th-grade student at Hornsby Middle School. “Our education isn’t just about tests and exams…It’s about dreaming of a better future.”

After listening to the speakers, participants marched down Duke of Gloucester Street, holding their signs high and joining together in chants. They stopped in front of the William & Mary bookstore and continued to chant and wave their signs.

The march was sponsored by Common Ground Williamsburg, Middle Peninsula Progressives, Moms Demand Action of the Peninsula, Peninsula Indivisible, Williamsburg Indivisible Group, and the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists’ Social Justice Group.

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