by Pascaline Comas –
Arms are for hugging,” “Gun rights do not equal the right to endanger our children,” “USA or NRA?,” and “Throw them out” were some of the protest signs waved March 24 in White Plains as thousands of protesters of all ages gathered for an anti-gun violence demonstration.
Residents from throughout the Hudson Valley came together to voice their concerns and exasperations about gun violence after the tragedy in a Florida high school. “People had enough, enough is enough,” said Daniel Convissor, a Sleepy Hollow resident who came to the rally with his wife and young children. “We need more structure. There are more guns than people.”
The atmosphere was electric and the general feeling a firm intention to have their voice heard. “It is so powerful that all these people are coming together. The White House will realize how many people care about that,” said Bella Moore, a 14-year-old Briarcliff Manor resident who was marching with her friends Jessica Heller, 16, and Livy Bergstein, 17.
“We are growing up in a world that is being mad right now. It is very important that we feel safe in it and do not fear for our lives at school every day,” Heller said.
“We can’t even drink yet, but we are allowed to buy an assault weapon. Believe me, we are not going to stop fighting,” Bergstein said.
The march started at at Post Road School and ended at the Martin Luther King Statue near the Public Library where White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach welcomed the walkers
“I have never been happier to see this many people in the city than I am today,” said Roach, who mentioned other area elected officials in attendance, including Irvington Mayor Brian Smith and Sleepy Hollow Mayor Ken Wray. “Every day, 96 Americans lose their life to gun violence. We make it too easy to get people guns.”
“The shooting itself is not different, it is the consciousness that has been happening afterward which is different,” said Convissor. “Change is coming. And it starts now, inspired by and led by the kids who are our hope for the future. Their young voices will be heard.”