‘March For Our Lives’ Rally Rivals Peace & Civil Rights Marches of 1960s
“The fight begins today. And it won’t end until we get what we need.” – Cameron Kasky, a survivor of the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and one of the organizers of a March 24th ‘March For Our Lives’ Rally that went global.
A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted March 26th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
At the risk of being accused of overdoing it with lines from Bob Dylan songs, one of his more interesting ones, called ‘The Ballad of a Thin Man’, from a time in the 1960s when youthful rebellion was really beginning to shake the rafters of the status quo, featured a line that went like this – “Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones.’
Well something is happening again.
And this time, it may be many of the same members of a now greying sixties generation participating in revolution way back then, who either don’t know or would rather not care to know what it is.
After all, why let anything new or different change the game for a generation of baby boomers that, for better or worse, has had its way with the world and whatever levers of power it could get a grip on for more than 50 years now.
But something is happening and it’s been building in strength and spirit since this past February 14th Valentine’s Day when yet another individual, angry with the world and armed with a military style assault weapon, massacred people – this time in a nice suburban high school in sunshine State of Florida.
Something is happening, alright, and I wanted to experience at least a little piece of it this past Saturday, March 24th in Buffalo, New York where one of more than 800 “sibling marches” were taking place across the United States, Canada and around the world in support of a major ‘March For Your Lives’ rally, taking place the same way and attended by more than half a million mostly young people in Washington, D.C.
At least 3,000 marchers gathered in the shadow of Buffalo city hall for a rally that had many of the hallmarks of those peace and civil rights rallies that took place in the 1960s, as a bloody war in Vietnam, racial tensions in the United States and the ongoing threat of global nuclear annihilation haunted the dreams and aspirations of a generation of young people back then.
For the first time in decades, we are witnessing a whole new generation of young people standing up for a safer, healthier future, and it could not happen a day too soon.
It is, after all, their future that hangs very much in the balance and it was hard not to be impressed with how passionately and intelligently they made their case this March 24th for a world much better than the one they’ve been handed by their elders.
The spark that lit this new revolution for progressive change is gun violence, and it is too bad that it almost always takes acts of violence for threats to people’s well-being to motivate us to action.
In the 1960s, it was the threat of being dragged out onto the street and beaten for trying to desegregate a lunch counter, or the threat of being drafted to fight in a war you didn’t believe in, or the sight of rivers so polluted with petrochemical waste that one of them actually lit on fire in the Great Lakes basin, or a very real threat (underscored by the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis) of the whole world being vaporized in a nuclear war.
For young people today, there is climate change, there is ever constant economic instability and an ever widening gap between a small club of obscenely rich people and the rest of us, and there are renewed fears of nuclear war. And in the United States, in particularly, there is also the possibility of children being shot in their classroom.
In Buffalo this Saturday I left at the end of the March For Our Lives rally there hoping that this new movement for change for the better will continue, and that it will grow to address other life-and-death issues like climate change, joblessness and poverty, all forms of discrimination, and nuclear and no n-nuclear war.
These young people are standing up for their future now and, rather than trying to turn back time or defending a status quo that is clearly not healthy and sustainable, the rest of us should be doing everything we can to support them.
Let us all cheer on the March For Our Lives!
To hear and view an address to the Washington, D.C. rally by Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez, click on –
.Hear and view another one of the more stirring addresses delivered at the March For Our Lives rally by Stoneman Douglas High School student Ryan Deitsch –
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