Tampa March For Our Lives draws thousands of protesters

Thousands of people gathered at Kiley Gardens in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park on March 24 as part of a national protest against gun violence called March For Our Lives.

The march comes as a response to the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. Over 700 March For Our Lives protests happened worldwide, with about 800,000 people marching in Washington, D.C., alone.

According to the March For Our Lives website, its primary demands include universal background checks, a searchable database for the ATF and the ban of high-capacity magazines and assault weapons.

Thousands of students gathered in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Tampa, Florida, to advocate for stricter gun control. Photo by Maria Laura Lugo.

Susana Matta Valdivieso, a 17-year-old student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, spoke at the Tampa march.

“We are all here because we support this movement, this revolution that will not end until our cities, our towns, our workplaces, our schools and our nation is safe,” Matta Valdivieso said. “As citizens of the U.S. we depend on our Congress to make laws and policies to keep us safe. But when they fail to do so, it is our duty to take action.”

Matta Valdivieso isn’t the only student worried about her safety. Sickles High School student Elizabeth Collins is also concerned about the possibility of gun violence at school.

“Every day I come to school and I worry that someone is going to come and shoot us,” said Collins. “It’s a possibility for every person in America that someone is going to kill you because of a gun, because there are no gun laws. Every politician has a job to protect the people, and they’re not doing anything.”

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn also spoke at the march in support of the protest. He called on people to be more politically active to help achieve their goals.

“If you want bump stocks banned, then I need you,” said Buckhorn. “If you want assault weapons out of the hands of people who don’t deserve them or don’t need them, I need you, so march on. If you want a waiting period, if you want background checks, then I need you, so march on.”

Brianna Aguasvivas, another student from Sickles High School, agrees that young people will be the ones to make a difference. He also believes that the recent gun violence in schools will lead to an increase in voter registration.

“Politicians should be scared because there’s a lot of kids who are either 18 or just under 18 that by the next election will be registered to vote,” said Aguasvivas. “We will be voting them out.”

 

The next step, according to the March For Our Lives committee, is to register people to vote so that they can vote for candidates who support stricter gun control.

For more information about the March For Our Lives movement, visit: https://marchforourlives.com/home/.

Students protest CWY Hall for name change

Students on the University of South Florida’s campus are petitioning for a name change of the ROTC building on campus. The building’s namesake is former senator Charles William Young. Young had a political career lasting more than fifty years.

He was a member of the Johns committee. The Johns committee’s aim was to remove radicals from the Florida Public University system during the 1960s. The Florida senate chose to seal over 50,000 pages of documents involving the committee until 1992 when the Florida Supreme Court ruled that they fell within the sunshine laws.

Bruce Wright, President of students for a democratic society, said the committee’s goal was less than appropriate.

“It was formed to investigate people’s lifestyles to see if they were compliant with what was perceived to be the way a professor should be,” Wright said.

Students gathered outside of the building with signs chanting “change the name stop the hate”, with the petition currently holding 400 signatures.

While students protest the name of the building there are other students such as Jesse Davidson, majoring in communications, who believe the university should take a different approach and inform students on the matter.

“I don’t think that we should look over all the good things that he did for our community and the reason he had a building named after him in the first place,”said Davidson.

The University of South Florida currently has no plans to change the buildings name.